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Yankees 2016 Draft Preview: Corner infield organizational depth

Corner infield depth? Not a strength of the Yankees system. At least there's Greg Bird.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have had so much stability at their corner infield spots with Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira being two of the longest tenured players on the team. Rodriguez is no longer physically fit enough to play third base, bringing about the necessity to sign Chase Headley to a four-year deal before last offseason. Teixeira is in the final year of his lucrative deal with the Yankees, and most signs point to the sides parting ways after the 2016 season is over.

Unfortunately for the Yankees, their system does not feature a lot of promise at either of the corner infield positions. A lot of that is because Greg Bird has graduated from prospect status and should be due to take over first base in some capacity next season. Aside from him, though, the picture isn't pretty.

New York traded away their closest corner infield prospect when they sent Eric Jagielo to the Reds this offseason. Just because Jagielo was the closest, didn't mean he was the best. There were real questions about his ability to stick at third base long-term, and his bat wasn't exacting making up for what he lacked with the glove. All in all, probably not a huge loss.

Rob Refsnyder has notoriously dabbed in playing the hot corner since the acquisition of Starlin Castro, but the team's reluctance to entrench him there probably doesn't bode too well for the future. He's played second base, third base, and right field, making him more of a utility player than hopeful third baseman of the future. His bat hasn't really ever been a question, but the lack of defense exhibited is certainly an issue preventing him from making more of a splash.

The two corner spots at Double-A Trenton have mainly been filled by Tyler Austin and Dante Bichette Jr. at first and third, respectively. Austin's prospect star has dimmed quite a bit after his strong 2012 season. Likewise, Bichette has never been able to put together all the promise it seemed like he had when he lit up the Gulf Coast League offensively back in 2011. The chances of either one being in the long-term plans of the Yankees seems pretty slim.

Perhaps the most intriguing corner infield prospect currently plays for the Tampa Yankees in Miguel Andujar. He happens to be one of those guys whose ceiling and tools are constantly praised, but Andujar's progression through the system has not been a speedy one. The issue he has run into is that each new level seems to present a bit of a challenge for roughly half a season. Andujar is off to a great start so far in 2016, and should be due for a promotion before the season is out.

Drafting for need in the MLB Draft is not a smart move because the players cannot make an immediate impact. However, the system is clearly in need of some help at the corner infield positions wherever they can get it, and they should be able to find some talent there in the middle rounds of the draft after the higher ceiling players are off the board.