Miguel Andujar, New York Yankees third baseman, was named Sporting News America League Rookie of the Year for the 2018 season. Congratulations to Miguel, who emerged as the batting average leader for the Yankees, among things.
Andujar, who is a native of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, was signed by the Yankees as an International free agent in June of 2011. He made his professional debut in 2012 with the Gulf Coast Yankees.
Andujar progressed quickly though the minor league system. In 2016 he played with AA Trenton and batted 312 with 7 home runs and 52 RBI’s, leading the league through 67 games.
Following a season-ending injury to Gleyber Torres in June, 2017, he was promoted to the team’s AAA affiliate, the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders.
After only 7 games with the Railriders, he was called up to the Yankees after Matt Holliday went on the disabled list. Miguel made a huge splash in his major league debut, going 3-4 with 4 RBI’s and a walk. He set a new record for his 4 RBI’s by a Yankee in their first game in Pinstripes.
Following that terrific showing, Andujar was returned to Scranton Wilkes-Barre to hone his craft at third base. He had an extremely productive year there, hitting 317 with 9 home runs and 30 RBI’s in 58 games.
On April 1, 2018, Andujar once again joined the big league team as Brandon Drury experienced migraine headaches. He was in the Bronx to stay for the season. And what an addition he would become!
At only age 23, Andujar led the Yankees in batting average, (. 297) hits, (170) and most notably was a double producing machine with 47, eclipsing the record for a Yankee rookie which held from 1936. (Joe DiMaggio)
He was second on the 2018 team in RBI’s, (92) OPS, (. 855) and slugging. (. 527) His oWAR for the season was an amazing 4.6.
The only downside to Andujar was his somewhat shaky defense on the hot corner. His dWAR was -2.2. He only committed 6 errors in his rookie campaign, but had a – 12 DRS, the worst among qualiying third basemen in the league.
Early in the season, Andujar received advice from former Yankee third baseman, Alex Rodriguez. He stated of Andujar, “I think he has the potential to be a very good big-league third baseman. All great infielders have great footwork. That’s what we focused on. I’m careful with young players not to overwhelm them, but we spoke about footwork and cadence.”
Also a believer in the young man’s potential to improve defensively is Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman. He has stated repeatedly that Miguel has his place on the team at the hot corner.
Recently Cashman said,”We are huge Andujar fans and we have demonstrated that by not trading him despite how many offers we have had to do so. The dude is only 23 years old. Whatever that narrative is, it’s a false one. I am a big fan of this guy. Not just me. It is WE are big fans. ”
We have seen what Andujar can do with his bat. His glove can improve, and he has the confidence of A-Rod, Brian Cashman, and Sporting News plus untold numbers of fans. He has an unbelievable work ethic also and will put in the time to improve.
Congratulations to Miguel Andujar on an incredibly impressive rookie year and the Sporting News award. It was a great experience watching him throughout 2018. 2019 will be even better!