The New York Yankees outfield has been a medley of shifts, and changes since a few injuries have piled up. With Aaron Hicks expected to potentially miss the remainder of the 2021 season, Giancarlo Stanton recovering from a quad injury, Clint Frazier dealing with a neck issue, and Ryan LaMarre pulling his hamstring, the Yankees are thin at the position.
Currently, they have Brett Gardner in centerfield, Miguel Andujar in left field, and Aaron Judge in right field. Behind them, they have minimal depth, but the Yankees have still managed to extract victories over the past few days, allowing just one run over the last four games.
However, one person’s trash is another man’s treasure, and that is how Andujar is approaching this opportunity. With Frazier hurting his neck, Andujar has been spending time in left field as a starter, recording an RBI and hit in the 7-0 victory over Chicago on Saturday afternoon.
While Andujar starting to build a bit of confidence and momentum, his defensive efficiency still hovers in the below-average category. He was hit with an error on Friday, cutting in front of Gardner as he attempted to make a catch in centerfield. However, Aaron Boone believes he’s making progress with his bat, and that is his primary purpose currently.
“Feel like he’s having some quality at-bats for us,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Hopefully, just with some regular opportunities here, he’s starting to find some traction a little bit. We know what he’s capable of with the bat.”
The Yankees need Andujar to step up defensively, but he’s doing his best:
Defensively, Miguel is fighting to take a step forward, and while Boone justified his struggles, he’s doing the best he can at a position he’s still extremely new at. The question is, can Andujar compete for more playing time even when Frazier returns?
Clint is currently hitting .150 on the season but represents a better defensive player than the 26-year-old Dominican Republic native. It really depends on what Boone wants to do in terms of strategy, rolling with a more offensively proficient option or securing the outfield defensively. Considering how well the starting pitching has performed as of late, I think rolling with Andujar might be a more efficient move in the short term while Clint returns to health.
Long term, I believe Frazier will be inserted into the starting lineup, but he desperately needs to turn his season around at the plate, striking out 27.8% of the time but is earning walks on 14.3% of his at-bats, which is a solid number to start the year. He’s simply been inconsistent in most categories but has the talent to be a + hitter.