Scouting Yankees Prospect #34: Miguel Andujar

Andujar can be a special player long-term

The New York Yankees signed third baseman Miguel Andujar out of the Dominican Republic for $750,000 back in July of 2011. Signed because of his very high offensive potential, while his debut season stats last year were not great, he has shown flashes of being one of the toolsiest young players in the entire farm system.

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

The 17-year old skipped the Dominican Summer League entirely and began his career in the United States in 2012. He hit just .232 with one home run in his debut season with the Gulf Coast League Yankees, but the Yankees were very happy with how he finished the year.

"Yeah and we think he can hit," Yankees senior vise president of scouting and player development Mark Newman said. "And we've had some really good players who didn't hit well during their first year in the rookie league -- Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano for example -- but they looked good doing it, and Andujar looked good doing it.

"He can hit the ball hard the other way, his balance is good, we think he's going to be a hitter."

There's always a learning curve with any first-year pro, especially one as young as Andujar and that is compounded exponentially when a foreign born teenager is also exposed to a new country for the first time too.

"For it being my first time here in the States I don't think I did too bad," Andujar said through the help of a translator. "It was a learning process. I've never played this level of competition before and for all of that I think I did okay."

Physically gifted with plus bat speed, great torque, great athleticism and arm strength, many tend to overlook just how much of a mental adjustment is needed when playing pro ball.

"My mentality, being ready mentally for each game and staying focused," he listed as the area he could have done better. "I feel like in some of the games I lacked the focus that I needed but that's something that I'm working on now so that next year I'll be a little more focused and prepared for every game.

"One of the biggest things I learned this year was the situations; where to cover, where to play, how to move, the cutoff man, situations at third base -- when to play in, when to play back, those are things that I've never done before so that was something very big for me to learn. That was one of the most important things for me this year."

Possessing a very innate feel for hitting too, he never realized how much work had to be put in on the offensive side as well.

"The position of my front foot, my stride, making sure it goes towards the pitcher and not open, and making sure I don't chase pitches out of the strike zone which I tended to do a bit this year, those are areas of focus because I'd pull toward third base and my head would come out," he admitted.

"Now I'm trying to keep my head down on the ball, be selective, and focus on hitting back up the middle."

He made a ton of adjustments during two Instructional League camps this offseason and really stood out as one of the better young players in an already impressive group, and the entire first year experience does beg some patience on the part of the pundits.

"I remember scouting Ramon Flores in his first year in the Gulf Coast League and I think he hit near or below .200 that year but looked good in the process," one National League Central scout said. "Flores came back and had more representative numbers the next year.

"I could see Andujar doing the same exact thing because you can see he has all of the components needed to be a good hitter. I think he's going to be a comer in the next year or two."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2012 GCL Yankees .232 177 9 1 19 21 1 13 37 .288 .299


Batting and Power. At his core Andujar does everything very well to be a high average hitter. He has exceptional bat speed, advanced patience for a teenager, good pitch recognition, and an ability to use the whole field. Despite not being very big physically, he also gets great torque in his swing and combining that with the great bat speed he can really impact the baseball. That's where he gets himself into trouble at times though -- sometimes he gets too home run and pull happy, and that has a negative effect on his hitting. When he's not trying to do too much, however, he has all the earmarks of being a very, very good hitter.

Base Running and Speed. Andujar is actually pretty fast for a corner infielder, boasting average big league speed overall and the kind of natural quickness to be a potential double-digit stolen base threat. However, he has a lot to learn in the running game to tap that kind of long-term potential.

Defense. Again, Andujar has all the physical tools to be a plus defensive player at third base - above average athleticism and agility, sure hands that are very good on short-hop plays already, the needed speed to have great range, and plus arm strength - but he just needs to continue learning how to place himself and where to go with throws, and that takes more experience. He will have his short-term hiccups along the way but he projects to be a long-term above average and perhaps even plus defensive player.

Projection. Though one of the youngest, Andujar has one of the highest ceilings in the organization. Right now with the way he's currently built he projects to be a plus defensive player at third base and a high average hitter with average big league power down the road, but there's also considerable room for him to fill out too in the coming years and that could push his ceiling a lot higher. In a lot of ways he resembles a very young and skinnier version of Adrian Beltre ceiling-wise, but he has a lot of work to do towards tapping that kind of potential.

ETA. N/A. Andujar is most likely headed back right where he finished -- in the Gulf Coast League -- in 2013 for some more seasoning. Should he begin to employ many of the lessons he learned last year though, he could really start to move quickly the following year. It would not be surprising to see a Ramon Flores-like trajectory through the minor leagues.

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