TAMPA — When it involves what place Miguel Andujar will play this season the important thing difficulty is … will he hit?
If he hits, he’ll play. Somewhere. How do I do know? History.
Third base is probably the most under-represented place within the Hall of Fame as a result of so many elite gamers have been moved off the recent nook and relocated elsewhere to maintain their bats within the lineup.
Harmon Killebrew, Tony Perez and Jim Thome are Hall of Famers, as is Jeff Bagwell, who was a minor-league third baseman. They shall be joined some day by Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols. It is basically misplaced to time, however Killebrew, Carbera and Pujols performed greater than a 1,000 video games mixed within the outfield. Killebrew was the primary participant to be chosen to the All-Star Game at three positions (third, outfield, first).
Ryan Braun gained the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year as a 3rd baseman and has by no means performed one other inning on the place. Jason Giambi and Mark Teixeira got here up as third basemen.
Aaron Boone, a career-long third baseman, defined the sustainability drawback: to man third a participant has to profile as a powerful bat and but not be a defensive legal responsibility. Most of the celebs talked about above have been moved as a result of both their protection was sketchy and/or the roster labored higher in the event that they moved off the place.
Both of these are true about Andujar. The Yankees haven’t given up the hope that athleticism and work ethic will flip Andujar into no less than a mean defender at third. But they’re the epitome of a win-now staff. And Gio Urshela is much better along with his glove in 2020, and the Yankees consider Urshela’s 2019 offensive breakout whereas Andujar recuperated after ought to surgical procedure was no fluke. But additionally they consider Andujar’s 2018 rookie hitting fireworks have been actual. That his bat-to-ball expertise are elite. That he’s an skilled at utilizing the entire subject.
The Twins, one other win-now membership, are shifting the hulking Miguel Sano throughout the diamond to accommodate the defensively superior new addition Josh Donaldson. Mike Moustakas is slated to maneuver from third to second so as to add one other large bat to his new membership, the Reds, who’ve the presently injured Eugenio Suarez (49 homers final 12 months) at third.
“Nowadays with matchups, in case you can (play) not one, not two, however play three positions with that sort of bat, you turn into an on a regular basis participant at three positions,” bench coach Carlos Mendoza mentioned. “(Andujar) understands that. There is a chance for him to play just about every day.”
Andujar performed third Sunday in his first begin and homered in opposition to the Rays. He is scheduled to play third once more Tuesday in Dunedin in opposition to the Blue Jays, however begin in left and first earlier than the top of the week. He mentioned, “I’m conscious and have seen that” different gamers have been moved off third base early, but went on to famous person careers.
The Yankees have favored what they’ve seen early — albeit in practices, not below sport conditions. Boone mentioned Andujar was pleased and relieved, not dissatisfied, when the Yanks approached him about a number of positions — actually, Andujar already was figuring out on his personal on the different spots.
Boone mentioned Andujar “appears pure” in left and Mendoza cited Andujar’s high quality footwork in each left and first, and complimented Andujar for asking the appropriate questions on when to path runners or exit for cutoffs at first and understanding foul territory and communications with fellow outfielders when he’s in left.
“Whichever approach the staff desires to present me a chance to play, I’m very happy to take that,” Andujar mentioned.
Now to make it work. Boone loves outfield protection and Mike Tauchman, Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge from left to proper is elite in his view. That would make Giancarlo Stanton the common DH. Luke Voit and Mike Ford are at first and will force their technique to some DH at-bats (with Stanton shifting to the outfield), particularly if the Yanks need Ford’s further lefty bat of their righty-heavy lineup. And that is earlier than Aaron Hicks probably returns in midseason after Tommy John surgical procedure.
Every staff would hope for the issue of too many bats. And that’s the reason hitting like Andujar did in 2018 (or higher if he can higher management the strike zone) is instrumental to him enjoying. Somewhere. If Andujar hits, there shall be 5 begins per week amongst first, third and left — with a DH sprinkled in every now and then.
“The truth he was open (to enjoying completely different positions) the primary time we approached him, that was a giant step,” Mendoza mentioned. “He is aware of the worth he would have if he gives that type of versatility. He is aware of nice gamers have finished it earlier than.”