Name: Miguel Andujar
Position: Third Baseman
DOB: March 2, 1995
Batting and Power. Andujar has always had the makings of a potentially high-average hitter and it was due to his combination of plus bat speed, advanced pitch recognition, and having a mature balance of being patient yet aggressive [at the right times often enough] at the plate, a trait not often found in young hitters. What he would occasionally battle [and still does], however, and what would hurt his average was his temptation of trying to do too much at the plate in the name of optimizing his average to potentially long-term above average power potential. Instead of lacing liners from gap to gap and consistently using a center to right field approach -- which he excels at when he sticks to his plan -- he would often times attempt to power up and hit balls 500 feet down the line, and like even the best hitters who over-swing he would [and still will] leave himself susceptible to better breaking pitches, and the end result was not being the kind of consistent hitter he can be. He made marked improvements in all of those areas last season though and both the average and power went up, and he is still only now scratching the surface as a hitter. More of a hit-first guy with power, he's at his best when he doesn't think of himself as a power hitter. There's a .300 hitter in the making, one who could be a solid 20-25 home run guy once he fully matures.
Base Running and Speed. More of an average runner overall and quicker in comparison to most third baseman in his younger days, the older Andujar gets the bulkier he gets and the speed gets downgraded a notch as a result. He's still quite nimble and agile though for a corner guy but he doesn't project to be quite the impact runner he possibly could have been had he not gotten bigger, and he's still not done growing yet. There's a ceiling of a low double-digit stolen base guy if things break right but his far greater impact will be as a solid station to station runner. He's basically a slight asset in the running game.
Defense. Andujar just turned 22 years old and has constantly played against much older competition, and defensively he can look every part of the younger player when he attempts to make the impossible play. He has all of the physical tools to be a plus defensive player someday, including a bazooka for an arm, good hands, and solid range. However, he is still seeking that mental maturity to tie it all together for him to maximize his defensive play. Quite frankly, his arm is so strong he simply tries to gun down everybody when sometimes the better play is not making a throw at all, and that's part of the learning curve for somebody so young. Defensively there are no long-term issues though and he has the ability to be a Gold Glove caliber defender.
Projection. There are no mixing words, Andujar has clear big league starting potential. Showing the potential to not only be a smooth but standout defender at third base as he continues to mature, Andujar has some very hitter-ish qualities that are hard to ignore too that give him an All Star ceiling on both sides of the ball if things break right. With great bat speed, consistent line-drive tendencies and little natural loft, and more hitter-like qualities than a true power guy, including not being an easy strikeout either, there are some obvious similarities to former Yankee great Robinson Cano, albeit a right-handed hitting, third base fielding version. Like Cano, Andujar is at his best when he focuses on being the consistent hitter he can be and avoids getting too home run happy, and like Cano it may take a while for the on-the-field production to match up with his talent because he has been playing younger for his levels throughout his career. With great intangibles and a second-to-none work ethic, he also has one of the better chances of reaching his potential as an everyday big league starting third baseman too.
ETA. 2018. Andujar did an admirable job for somebody so young in Double-A last season but still has room for improvement at that level from a production standpoint. He could use a bit more seasoning there to get his confidence level up too but the Yankees also have some depth pushing him up as well so it's not a given he starts back in Trenton. Wherever he starts though, he does appear likely to receive a good number of Triple-A at-bats in 2017 regardless, even if like last year he starts the season initially at the same level he finished the year prior.