Yankees News: Winter League performances not encouraging as two young batters struggle

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks
Feb 23, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks (31) at bat against the Detroit Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With baseball at a complete standstill, the New York Yankees still have a number of players featuring in the Winter League down in the Dominican Republic. Primarily winter ball is utilized for players returning from injury or those who want a bit of extra work during the off-season; one of the team’s big-league starters featured down south this month.

Switch-hitter Aaron Hicks enjoyed 12 games of action recovering from a wrist injury he sustained last season and knocked him out for majority of the year. He only featured in 32 games, leaving the Yankees incredibly thin in the outfield after Clint Frazier was forced out due to vertigo.

In addition to Hicks, they also had multiple minor-league players take the field, looking to get extra work in and prepare for the spring. Some performed better than others, but aside from Hicks, the other two batters struggled considerably to get anything going.

Brendan Kuty of NJ.com listed the stats for each Winter League player:

Aaron Hicks, CF

Stats: .265, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 10 K, 4 BB, 53 AB, 12 G

Wandy Peralta, RHP

Stats: 3-0, 3.72 ERA, 11 appearances, 9 2/3 IP, 15 K, 3 BB

Miguel Andujar, UTL

Stats: .161 BA, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 6 K, 1 BB, 31 AB, 8 G

Estevan Florial, CF

Stats: .167 BA, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 10 K, 7 BB, 24 AB, 9 G

Luis Medina, RHP

Stats: 0-0, 4.92 ERA, 2 starts, 3 2/3 IP, 6 K, 4 BB

Albert Abreu, RHP

Stats: 3-3, 2.25 ERA, 6 starts, 24 IP, 11 K, 10 BB

It is quite disappointing to see Miguel Andujar’s drop off over the past few seasons. After recording a .297 average with 27 homers back in 2018, Andujar has watched his progress stop and regress. He played in 45 games this past season, and while he did hit .253 with six homers and 19 runs, his defensive attributes have become a liability.

The Yankees never wanted to give up on Andujar, testing him at first base, outfield spots, and basically anywhere he could field without making a mistake. Unfortunately, he simply just isn’t a good enough defender to be a Major League player on an every day basis. He’s a solid supplement offensively, potentially as a DH, but the Yankees have too much slugging power to reserve him to that role. They’re better off trading him to a team who can try and re-mold him.

Another disappointing prospect has been Estevan Florial, who hit just .167 during Winter League play. Struggling with injury the past few years, Florial was known as a five-tool prospect and on his way to being a stud major leaguer. However, his development has taken far longer than anticipated. At this point, there’s no guarantee he will reach the majors and become the player he was destined to be a couple years ago when he was the number one prospect in the Yankees’ farm system.