2014 Statistics: 127 games, .267/.318/.397, 25 2B, 10 HR, .327 wOBA, 99 WRC+
2015 Contract Status: Single-A/Non-40
With a suspended and injured Alex Rodriguez missing close to two seasons, third base was a black hole in the Bronx until Chase Headley was acquired at the trade deadline this summer. While Eric Jagielo gets most of the press as the Yankees' third baseman of the future, Miguel Andujar could be the better bet to end up at third base in the Bronx.
Signed as an international free agent for $700,000 in 2011, he was the headliner of the team’s signing class. Jim Callis of MLB.com says that he "fits the third-base profile with plus power potential and a rocket arm. Andujar controls the strike zone reasonably well and has good agility too." Coming into the season John Sickels of Minor League Ball ranked him #19 in his New York Yankees Top 20 2014 pre-season prospects rankings.
Miguel Andujar struggled during the first three months of the season as a 19-year-old, in Low-A Charleston. His slash line was just .231/.298/.359, with 53 strikeouts in 281 at-bats. He turned it up between July and the end of the season, hitting to a line of .314/.345/.444 with 30 strikeouts in 220 at-bats. As he continues to mature, hopefully his good bat speed and batting eye will begin to translate into a higher batting average. His adjustment to pitching is a good sign, as he was young for this level of play and is known for his slow starts. Although scouts believe he has plus-power potential, it has yet to materialize on the field. With 10 home runs and a .130 ISO, his power regressed 38 points in comparison to his 2013 campaign. There’s still work to be done against lefties as well, as his numbers against them were .188/.211/.250 in 128 at-bats. Overall he had a good year offensively, putting up league-average production at a young age.
Compared to 2013, he raised his fielding percentage 50 points to .919 this season. Defensively, he has work to do, as Andujar committed 26 errors in 320 chances. With good agility and a plus-throwing arm, his defense should continue to improve as he matures. Unlike Jagielo, who has questions surrounding his ability to stay at third base, Andujar is expected to at least be serviceable at the position.
The Yankees have a very good prospect in Miguel Andujar. He offers a nice package of tools to put himself into the conversation of future third baseman. Youth and development time are on his side, but he has work to do. With further development offensively and defensively, he will be a big name to watch in 2015. Much like Rob Refsnyder this season, Andujar could move begin moving up prospect lists quickly next season. I expect him to be assigned to High-A Tampa, once Eric Jagielo is promoted to Double-A Trenton. With the signing of international free agent Nelson Gomez and Eric Jagielo ahead on the depth chart, he'll have to continue showing progress.