No Issues With Andujar

TAMPA, FL - Miguel Andujar was one of the more productive hitters in the farm system in the second half last season and one of the real standouts in Spring Training this year too. Seemingly on his way for a breakout season this year, he hasn't gotten off to the start he would have liked to this season but there really isn't any cause for concern.

[Photo by Mark Lomoglio

After two seasons playing in the Gulf Coast League, Miguel Andujar was promoted to low-A Charleston last year at the crisp age of 19, and ended putting together his best season to date. The now 20-year-old finished third in the entire Yankees organization with 70 RBIs to go along with 129 hits, 75 runs scored and 25 doubles in 127 games.

Coming into 2015 expectations were high for Andujar to improve on an already stellar season, and the Yankees coaches know that they are dealing with a very talented young player.

Tampa Yankees hitting coach Tommy Slater, who has worked with Andujar in the past when he was the hitting coordinator, is excited to have the opportunity to work with Andujar a little more closely this season.

"He’s a good young player and he’s got good bat speed and the ability to really drive a baseball," Slater said, "and he’s doing a really good job. He’s a talented hitter. He’s strong and he works at it. He’s going to have a successful career.

"He’s got a high ceiling, he’s got a lot of good tools. He has good hands in the infield, arm strength, he’s athletic, he has bat speed and pop, [and] as the physical side of it and mental side of it progress, I think he has a very high ceiling."

Boasting a ton of upside is obvious when watching him play but Slater acknowledged that Andujar still needs to develop as a young player and he believes that he is heading in the right direction.

"Each year he’s progressed in his development and we’re looking for him to continue to progress and each level as he gets up get better. Whether it’s the physical side of things or mental side of a thing, we’re always trying to improve and that’s what he’s doing right now."

After putting together four multi-hit games in the first five games of the new season, Andujar has only managed one multi-hit games in the last eleven games played, dropping his average from .344 to .253. While some might be concerned, manager Dave Bialas isn’t.

"I think he’s doing fine," Bialas said. "This is a tough league to hit in. You have seen some huge hits; some of balls that are hit in the gaps would be home runs in normal ballparks. This is a tough league to hit in, but a great league to pitch in. I think he’s doing fine and that he’s on track."

Bialas also acknowledged, much like Slater, that Andujar has some developing that he needs to do.

"Just like any young player he needs to have consistency from pitch to pitch, at-bat to at-bat. He needs to stay on the ball, drive the ball well, use the whole field, and work on his defense."

Bialas says he thinks that for being 20-years-old that Andujar is on track and has all the tools to play in the big leagues someday.

"He’s a hard worker and a smart kid. He’s working on his defense at third base and I think he’s been doing pretty well [defensively] but it’s an ongoing process. I think that he has a chance to play in the big leagues but only time will tell."

Time is certainly on Andujar's side and while his averaged has dipped since the start of the season, Andujar isn’t a stranger to slumps. Last season with Charleston was a tale of two halves, a slow first half and an extraordinary seconds half.

"Early on was rough," Andujar said of last season through the help of translator. "As the season went on I started feeling better. Mental preparation really helped me out. I got a plan when I went to the plate and it worked out real well for me."

His coaches aren't concerned at all that he hasn't busted out yet and neither is Andujar himself. He knows he has put in all of the work needed to build on last season's second half surge and become the impact player he believes he can and will be.

"Being a third baseman is a lot of work," he admitted. "I worked really hard this offseason and it’s paid dividends so far. I always take care of my body that’s the kind of guy that I’ve always been. I definitely got stronger no doubt."

Despite his offensive numbers declining since the start of the season, including an on-base percentage under .300, Andujar says that he feels great and isn't concerned at this point.

"No issues, I’m just trying to learn the game better day in and day out, and eventually, everything is just going to click.

"I’m not worried, it’s too early. I know things are going to get better for me, I just have to work hard to get better in every aspect," he concluded.

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