To Keep or Not to Keep: Miguel Andujar
by Ethan Semendinger
July 20th, 2021
Over the next month as we begin to approach the 2021 Trade Deadline season, Ethan will be taking you through most of the Yankees MLB talent (including those on the IL) and his give opinions on what he would do if he ran the team and on what the Yankees will likely do.
Today we’ll be discussing Miguel Andujar.
MLB Postseason/Division/WS Odds for the New York Yankees (2021): Preseason: Fangraphs – 91.3%/71.0%/17.5% BBRef – 84.0%/63.1%/11.8% 538 – 83%/60%/14% On June 14th: Fangraphs – 44.5%/14.4%/5.7% BBRef – 19.3%/0.9%/0.8% 538 – 37%/8%/3%#Yankees #StartSpreadingtheNews — Start Spreading The News (@NYY_Report) June 14, 2021
Understanding This Series:
At the beginning of this series, the Yankees currently sit with a 33-32 record, are 4th in the AL East (8.5 GB of the Rays), and are 6th in the AL Wild Card race (4 GB of the Astros). If they want to win 93 games this season (what they’d likely need for a wild card spot) they’ll have to play .618 baseball, a winning percentage of which just 2 teams (Rays and White Sox) are currently playing at. In this series we’re not believing that the Yankees, under their current roster construction and self-inflicted restrictions, have a shot at the playoffs. Thus, we’re looking at the 2021 Trade Deadline as a place to sell and to look towards 2022 and the future for this team.
Miguel Andujar Background:
Signed by the Yankees as a 16-year-old international free agent out of the Dominican Republic back in 2011, Miguel Andujar started to become a name discussed in Yankee prospect circles around 2014 while being a 19-year-old in Single A. Over those next 4 years Andujar would find a yearly promotion up the minor leagues during which he also started to hit better.
This all came to fruition in 2018 when Andujar (after a 5 game MLB stint at the end of 2017) immediately hit the ground running as a rookie. He quickly became known for his consistency with hitting doubles and his swing that brought his bat way over his head. By the end of the season, Andujar hit to a fabulous .297/.328/.572 triple-slash with a .855 OPS, a 130 OPS+, and was 2nd in the Rookie of the Year voting behind Shohei Ohtani showcased his first stint as a two-way player in the MLB.
The future was looking as though he was going to be the Yankees long-term third-baseman. Except, the other thing he quickly became known for was being a butcher in the field. While he had +2.9 bWAR in his rookie season, this was helped a ton by offense (+4.9 oWAR) and hurt a ton by defense (-1.8 dWAR).
Then, the Yankees took a shot on a player named Giovanny Urshela from the Cleveland Indians. Paired with an injury after sliding back into third base early in 2019, Urshela provided the Yankees with similar offense and great defense. Because of this, Andujar quickly found himself out of the Yankees favor in the infield.
Since the beginning of 2019, Andujar has played in just 78 MLB games, including just 45 in 2021 while around two injuries and IL stints for wrist injuries.
During these years the Yankees have tried to convert Andujar into an outfielder as they look to take advantage of his grand offensive potential while trying to minimize his poor defensive play. However, in 2021 the offense hasn’t quite been showcased with his 83 OPS+.
What I’d Do and What the Yankees Will Do:
Miguel Andujar (and a certain red-headed outfielder) have been part of trade speculation by Yankees fans for the past 5 years. And even though on-field performance is lacking, injuries pile up, and team control gets shorter they somehow continue to hold massive value to Yankees fans. (Who would say no to a Andujar/Frazier trade for…let’s say: Jacob DeGrom?)
All jokes aside, the trade value for Miguel Andujar is exceptionally low right now for many reasons, with the most prominent being his future as a DH-type player (given poor defense) and his lack of hitting to justify a DH spot over the past few seasons. Especially considering 2020 is his final pre-arbitration year (before arbitration covers him through 2024) his contract price will theoretically only go up.
Truthfully, there is no big question about what should the Yankees do with Andujar. Reason being is that they’ve held onto him for so long and watched him lose so much value that he’s essentially a sunk cost. He’s worth nothing to any other team besides the Yankees and the only thing they can do is hold him.
Or at the very least, that is what they’ll do for now.
With two minor league options remaining, the Yankees can comfortably keep him in Triple-A for the next couple seasons as a depth piece, hoping that each time he comes up he’ll showcase the gap power that brought them 47 doubles in 2018.