The Yankees’ Miguel Andujar spent 2018 at third base, where he endured his fair share of struggles. Andujar posted a horrid minus-25 Defensive Runs Saved and a similarly poor minus-16 Ultimate Zone Rating, but the doubles machine’s outstanding offensive production overshadowed his difficulties in the field. While Andujar finished second in AL Rookie of the Year voting in his first season, he wasn’t able to follow it up in 2019 on account of shoulder troubles that shelved him for almost the whole campaign.
In Andujar’s absence last year, the Yankees saw fill-in Gio Urshela enjoy an out-of-nowhere breakout. Urshela’s now set to enter 2020 as the Yankees’ top option at the hot corner, which could force Andujar to another position. Yankees manager Aaron Boone has told Andujar that he’ll have to learn to play first base and left field in spring training, Randy Miller of NJ.com reports.
Andujar’s no sure thing to begin 2020 with the Yankees if he’s unable to adapt to his new spots. Considering he has minor league options left, the Yankees could opt to send him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. But Andujar’s “makeup is off the chart,” general manager Brian Cashman told the YES Network, so the Yankees are still banking on him doing enough to crack their 26-man roster.
If Andujar does start the season in the majors, it’s up in the air how much playing time he’ll receive from the get-go. As mentioned, he’s now the Yankees’ No. 2 guy at third. Meanwhile, the Yankees have fellow right-handed hitter Luke Voit, who has been quite productive since he joined the club in 2018, as well as lefty Mike Ford as first base possibilities. They also boast Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Tauchman and Clint Frazier as left field choices. So, there doesn’t appear to be an easy path to early season playing time in New York for Andujar, despite the .297/.328/.527 line he recorded and the 76 extra-base hits he amassed during his rookie campaign.