Earlier tonight, the Yankees called up third baseman and top prospect Miguel Andujar from Triple-A. This roster move followed left fielder Billy McKinney being placed on the 10-day disabled list, who suffered a left shoulder sprain during Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays. According to Bryan Hoch, Aaron Boone has said the Yankees see their current roster situation as an opportunity for Andujar to get some regular at bats. He will likely see time at first base, third base, and designated hitter.
It's nice to see that the Yankees are trying to make the best of an unfortunate situation by seeing what they have in Andujar. Granted, this doesn't really solve the biggest problem currently facing the Yankees, namely their lack of options at center field. With McKinney joining Jacoby Ellsbury and Aaron Hicks on the disabled list, what was once considered considerable depth is now razor-thin.
That being said, the Yankees do still have Brett Gardner, who has lost a step but should be fine in center for a little while. Beyond that, the Yankees have some more creative options if they're feeling intrepid, like continuing the Aaron Judge experiment, or letting the speedy Tyler Wade get some outfield reps.
Tyler Austin and Brandon Drury also have experience manning corner outfield spots, but that would be less than ideal. Still, it's safe to say that the Yankees probably have enough options to keep them afloat until Ellsbury, Hicks, or McKinney return. In Ellsbury's case, that might be as early as Thursday. Fingers crossed.
On the more exciting side of things, fans get to see Andujar do his thing in the big leagues again. The last time he got some playing time, he certainly made the most of it, hitting .571/.625/.857 with no strikeouts in eight plate appearances last summer. As if that wasn't tantalizing enough, Andujar got off to a scalding hot start in spring training. He cooled off towards the end somewhat, but still, his four homers in 14 spring games are impressive. Small sample size, sure, but his 2017 season in the minor leagues — .315/.352/.498 with 16 homers and a minuscule 13.6% strikeout rate at age 22 — suggests that he's ready for the next level.
Andujar does come with some questions, some of which I've addressed in an earlier article. On the offensive side of things, he isn't one to work walks, and he's shown a tendency to pop up too often in the minors. Defensively, scouts have questioned his ability to handle third base, noting that he has a strong arm but is also prone to mental lapses and poor footwork. Fortunately, the Yankees can mitigate some of Andujar's defensive risks by letting him see time at first base and DH, due to their considerable infield depth. Here's hoping Andujar takes this chance and runs off with it with a strong showing at the plate.