10 Positions in 10 Weeks: Analyzing Third Base
Photo Credit: Jason Miller/Getty Images
In Part 4 of a 10-week series, I will be focusing on the past year and future of the New York Yankees’ third basemen.
Gio Urshela is going to be the Yankees’ third baseman going forward. He hit .298 in 2020 with six home runs and 30 RBIs with a .858 OPS. One notable stat is his walk count, drawing 25 walks in all of 132 games in 2019, but 18 in 43 games in 2020. His discipline and ability to work counts have continued to give him relentless opportunities to play.
On the defensive side, it was business as usual. Known for his flashy glove who can do nearly anything at third base, Urshela continued to show his value. In 43 games, he committed only one error and had a .992 fielding percentage in the short season. There’s not much to say about Urshela besides the fact that he could be one of the biggest steals in the past decade.
Miguel Andujar is the other third baseman whose future is a lot less uncertain than Urshela’s. Although he has only played in 33 games in the past two seasons due to a labrum injury and inconsistencies at the plate, the Yankees seem to still have a lot of faith in the 25-year old.
The 2020 season was not too kind to Andujar as he only managed to hit .242 in 21 games with one home run and five RBIs with a .632 OPS. The only positive from his season was his short-lived flashy streak at the plate, where he significantly managed to get his batting average up.
Fielding continues to be a weak point for Andujar as he only played six games at third base and committed three errors, in addition to one he committed in left field. If the Yankees want to keep Andujar, this is an area that has to be improved.
So where will Andujar be playing in 2021? With the Cleveland Indians reportedly trying to move All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor before Opening Day, the Yankees could try to attain his services. This is the type of trade that I could see Andujar being a part of, but not even the first or second main attraction.
There is no question that there are some teams out there who would love to take Andujar. His 2018 season shows that he can be a Major League hitter and if he is given a full season, he may be able to recreate that. The one problem is that he would probably have to be traded to an American League team who does not have a DH if he were to play every day.
Andujar’s value is so low right now because he has not produced much since the 2018 season and has been a disaster in the field. There would be no reason to just trade him straight up for another player, but to include him in some sort of package, whether it’s for Lindor or someone else.
I do not see the Yankees trading him this season. It seems that there is still a lot of confidence in Andujar to be a backup to Urshela and that they can help him with his fielding. If anything, try to improve his value this season to where they could trade him next off-season.
As for now, expect to definitely see Urshela on the team next year, and probably Andujar as well.