Once they came, they made immediate impacts including multiple walk-off hits and big home-runs. Both players had WAR’s over 2.0. Many baseball fans always worry about the dreaded “sophomore slump” that many players go through after a successful first season in the big leagues.
With Didi Gregorius out with an injury, the Yankees are relying on Torres and Andujar to pick up the slack on both the offensive and defensive end.
So many extra-base hits for the Yankees:
Combined between Torres and Andujar, the two had a total of 95 extra-base hits last season. Miguel Andujar brought more power between the two, but Torres could put one out or get a double when he needed to. In 2018, Andujar tied the record for most doubles by a rookie in the American League with 47.
As he continued to go through the season, people began to compare him to Manny Machado who early in his career had a lot of doubles, and as he developed he turned them into home runs.
Machado had 51 doubles in his first full season. His first time up was long enough to count him as a rookie, so if he was a rookie in 2013 when he had all of those doubles, Andujar wouldn’t have a share of the rookie record. The Yankees are hoping that Andujar put enough muscle onto his body this winter to do the same thing Machado did with his hitting.
Fielding was a weakness:
Once the end of last season rolled around, Andujar had the worst third base fielding in the MLB, with his fielding percentage less than 95 percent. His glove wasn’t the issue, most of the mistakes he made were just throwing and judgment errors, including his baseball IQ. Andujar has been working hard during the winter to improve his fielding so he can continue to have a starting spot.
Last year at times, Andujar would be removed late from the game and replaced with Neil Walker or Ronald Torreyes. With both players gone, he doesn’t have much of a backup, DJ LeMahieu being the most likely.
Torres’ fielding percentage was just a hair over 96 percent, with his shortstop fielding percentage under 93 percent. That number is slightly concerning, as he likely could be the opening day shortstop with LeMahieu at second. The hype on Torres was his strong defense, and he did make several great plays last season but booted some of the easier ones.
Poor play on defense sometimes leads a player to have poor hitting, and if their poor defense continues in 2019, they may have some trouble at-bat. They need to keep that same mindset at the plate, and more strength may lead to more home runs. Hopefully, Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres can avoid the “sophomore slump” in 2019 and make an impact on both sides of the ball.