Patrick Teale

Miguel Andujar has slumped some over the past few weeks but he still has time to finish the season off strong.

TRENTON, NJ -- For 21-year-old Miguel Andujar, his promotion to Double-A earlier this season came with a lot of expectations that he would succeed after a solid first 58 games in High-A Tampa this season. After all, he was one of the top prospects in the organization heading into the 2016 season.

Andujar hit ten home runs in Tampa while hitting for a .283 batting average and a slugging percentage of .474. Andujar said that he is happy that the organization has taken notice of his production and work to give him the go-ahead to go Double-A Trenton.

“I feel great here in Trenton,” Andujar said. “I’m blessed that the higher-ups have been following the hard work I’ve put in the offseason and I’ve been able to show off the results of that hard work.”

As of August 14, his numbers in Double-A have been slightly lower than his numbers in Tampa, but not by much. While some may be disappointed by the .263 batting average and just one home run, the Trenton Thunder isn’t too worried about him.

Thunder manager Bobby Mitchell knew that Andujar would have to go through an adjustment period, but also believes that thus far Andujar has done a good job in the early going.

“There’s an adjustment period I knew Miguel has had to go through, but he swings the bat well,” Mitchell said. “He’s very confident. He’ll be our mainstay at third base which is nice. Him being at third gives us more flexibility to work with guys all around and he can play. He’s done a good job so far. I love how he comes to play every day.”

Andujar said that throughout the offseason and during the season, he has worked on his batting mechanics and his fielding.

Traditionally, prior to this year, he has had slow starts to his season. In the first half of 2014 and 2015, his OPS sat at .602 and .590, but in the second half of those seasons, they have improved all the way to .823 and .725. While this season seems to be the opposite, this is also the first time in his career that Andujar has been promoted in the middle of the season too.

When talking about his most recent slump, batting .175 with no home runs from July 26 to August 12, Andujar said that he’s not focused on that and that he just wants to do his job.

“I’m not worried about it,” Andujar said. “My thing is to go to the plate and have good at-bats. I never worry about the home runs because it will eventually happen. I only care about going to the plate and doing well in my at-bats.”

It’s also worth noting that while his July numbers were subpar, his batting numbers in June in Trenton had been outstanding [a batting slash line of .407/.435/.492], validating his promotion. He’s also been taking advantage of hitting when there are runners in scoring position, batting for a .306 average and 31 RBI to boot.

It bears mentioning again that while Andujar has been in the minor leagues for five years, he did join the organization since he was 16. His power is still developing, but he has already surpassed his season-high ten home runs from 2014 and still has a few weeks left in the season.

Hitting coach P.J. Pilittere said that his promotion to the Double-A level was a well-deserved one and that people will be curious how someone of his age will do in Double-A. Pilittere said that the transition the third baseman is going through is the toughest one to adjust because of the increase in competition.

“Going from High-A baseball to Double-A is the hardest transition, in my opinion,” Pillittere said. “Every guy that’s in this league is good enough to play in the Major League level. The talent level is here so that means you got to bring it even more every single night.

"I tell you what, since day one, the game has not gone by fast for him. He’s been himself. He’s a great teammate and provided a lot of energy into the offense, especially in the early part of his promotion and the guys really rallied around his energy. He’s been a great addition to the lineup.”

In the end, Andujar believes that if he can power through his slump, he can end up being a better player. He’s still contributing to a team that has the second best record in the Eastern League. Andujar scored two runs and batted in another one in the Thunder’s 5-4 win against Richmond on August 10.

“I just got to keep working hard and have my eyes on the end goal,” Andujar said. “If I keep working hard, I can get out of this slump and turn out for the better.”


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