Scouting Yankees Prospect #16: Miguel Andujar

Scouting Yankees Prospect #16: Miguel Andujar

The New York Yankees signed third baseman Miguel Andujar out of the Dominican Republic for $750,000 back in July of 2011. A high-ceiling player on both sides of the ball, he took steps towards tapping that potential last season.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Miguel Andujar
Position: Third Baseman
DOB: March 2, 1995
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

He wound up hitting .323 for Gulf Coast League Yankees2 last season with eleven doubles and four home runs after being one of the real standouts behind the scenes in Extended Spring Training earlier in the year.

"I worked hard and it paid off," Andujar said through the help of a translator. "I had a good year in the Gulf Coast League and in Extended [Spring Training]."

If there was one negative to his 2013 campaign it was the fact that he amassed just 133 at-bats after suffering a sprained ankle towards the end of Extended Spring Training that forced him to miss the first few weeks of the Gulf Coast League season.

Aside from the minor injury, however, it was a real positive year from a physical growth standpoint. He had put on nearly ten pounds of added muscle from the year prior and mentally he believes he is starting to really mature.

"My mental approach got a lot better during the games," he said. "It helped me in and out of the games too, I was more mentally focused."

"Man he matured tremendously on the field," GCL Yankees2 manager Mario Garza concurred. "He's always been a pretty mature kid in general but he matured in his at-bats and pitch selection.

"Previously he seemed like he tried to get big and impact the ball with every swing and [last] year I think he stayed within himself a little bit better and took what he got, and was able to use the whole field better."

Perhaps trying to do too much in his debut season in 2012, a year in which he hit just .232 in the Gulf Coast League after skipping the Dominican Summer League entirely, Andujar stopped trying to hit the proverbial five-run home run every time he stepped to the plate last season.

"I think [hitting coach] Edwar Gonzalez did a great job with him keeping him focused using the whole field," Garza continued. "He's so strong, he's not one of those guys that has to exert too much effort to drive the ball.

"He has great bat speed, he has great pitch recognition, so I think he did a great job staying within himself."

Physically gifted, one who shows natural hitting instincts and some raw athleticism in the field, that maturation was not exclusive to the plate. He made some marked improvements defensively too.

"I'm not there yet," Andujar admitted. "There's more work to do with my mechanics, my footwork. I want to be a little more assertive and that's why I'm working on the mechanics a lot.

"I'm just continuing to work on the daily routines and my mechanics, and my defense, just perfect those as much as I can."

"I saw a big improvement," Garza added. "His range was very good and he really made tremendous strides throwing. I see him being an average to maybe a little bit above average defender when he reaches his maturity."

He will be just 19 years old this coming season and there is still a lot more maturing to do, but the process has begun. What has scouts and team officials excited though is what that eventual maturation could potentially bring down the road.

"Man I think he can be very good, I really do. I think he can be an impact big leaguer," Garza concluded.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2013 GCL Yankees2 .323 133 11 4 25 18 4 7 21 .368 .496
2012 GCL Yankees .232 177 9 1 19 21 1 13 37 .288 .299


Batting and Power. Even when he struggled in his debut season he had all of the makings to be a high-average hitter; plus bat speed, advanced pitch recognition, an ability to stay back on pitches and use the whole field, and very good patience at the plate [although he doesn't draw a lot of walks right now]. Those same traits showed up once again last season but this time he allowed the game to come to him more instead of forcing the issue and the results were much better. While not physically imposing, his great bat speed and incredible torque give him average to perhaps higher power potential, especially to the pull-side where it could wind up being plus.

Base Running and Speed. He has just five stolen bases in his first 84 career games but he is much quicker than that total suggests, especially for a corner infielder. He won't ever be a huge impact runner but he has the potential to swipe double-digit bases in a given year.

Defense. As is the case with most teenage infielders, Andujar makes his fair share of mistakes right now but the physical tools -- the soft hands, the plus arm strength, the above average athleticism -- are all there to one day be an above average or better defensive player. He just needs to keep gaining experience and getting reps in the field to smooth out what is some raw Gold Glove caliber potential.

Projection. With plus bat speed, a real knack for hitting, average or better long-term power potential, and the physical tools to be a difference-making defensive player, Andujar has a sky-high ceiling, one who could be a real impact player on both sides of the ball someday. The makeup is solid too for such a young player and the entire package conjures up images of a young Adrian Beltre type if things come together for him. Staying within himself consistently in the coming years and not taking the foot off of the gas pedal when it comes to work are what is needed to make that ceiling a reality.

ETA. 2017. The Yankees will surely be temped to take it slower with Andujar in the short term and perhaps ticket him for short-season Staten Island in 2014, but it's going to be hard to keep him down for long. Expect him to see some time in low-A Charleston this coming season.

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