The New York Yankees have come out and said that Gio Urshela is going into the spring as their starting third baseman coming off an incredible 2019 season. In 2019, Urshela batted .314, hit 21 home runs and drive home 74 runs. Urshela was incredible at the plate and he was very good in the field. Miguel Andujar, coming off a rookie of the year caliber 2018, missed virtually all of 2019 with a shoulder injury. In 2018, Andujar was great at the plate, but historically bad in the field. Coming off the injury and mix in his terrible defense, and there really shouldn’t be a starting competition for third base in the spring. Now of course, the Yankees want to have Miguel Andujar’s bat in the lineup. So the question becomes, how do the Yankees do it?
Aaron Boone recently flew down and met with Andujar to discuss the two new positions that he would be learning this spring. The two positions would be left field and first base. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of Andujar at first base. Considering his skill set, I’m not convinced that he would transition to first well. On the other hand, I do think he would transition really well to the outfield. We have seen a number of players make the transition to the outfield from third and have done it successfully. Kris Bryant is a player that comes to mind who has played virtually his whole career at third but played a lot of outfield in 2019. Arguably the best player to transition from third to the outfield would be Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals. Alex Gordon is a platinum glove winner for his play in left field. People seem to forget that the first three seasons of his career, Gordon was a third baseman. The Royals transitioned Gordon full time to left field in 2011 where he promptly won a gold glove.
Now, I’m not saying that Miguel Andujar is going to be on the same level as Alex Gordon defensively, but in looking at Andujar, I think he projects well to the outfield. He has pretty good speed, and I think he has pretty good reflexes. A lot of the issues that we saw in 2018 was his throwing and ability to handle certain balls hit right at him. I think first base would be more of a challenge for him to learn than a corner outfield position. I like the idea of letting Stanton and Andujar swap the DH and LF position as we head into 2020. Both bats need to be in a lineup, and I think both could benefit from getting time in left and time just focusing on hitting. It will be interesting to see what the Yankees do as we head into the 2020 season, but I’m definitely taking a flyer on Miguel Andujar in left field during the 2020 season over taking one of him at first base.