It's still relatively early in Spring Training, but one cannot help but notice the impact that Miguel Andujar has had already. Taking that impact into consideration, it would be foolish of the Yankees not to give him a chance come Opening Day.
Coming into camp Andujar was probably the favorite to win the Yankees vacant third base job. The Yankees traded Chase Headley in the offseason on top of not bringing back fan favorite Todd Frazier. Since camp began, the Yankees have since added what they thought would be the everyday third baseman in Brandon Drury, thus putting Andujar's status in question.
But Andujar has done nothing but impress manager Aaron Boone and the Yankees since Spring Training began. In 15 at-bats this Spring, Andujar has hit .429 with four home runs and seven runs batted in. He fits the mold of what the Yankees are trying to do by incorporating another young player into the lineup, not having to touch their self-imposed salary cap.
The team Is impressed
When talking about Andujar, Boone told Erik Boland of Newsday that "He’s special from a bat-speed standpoint. Knows where his barrel is and walks up there with a lot of confidence."
Boone would go onto to say it is still relatively early and the club still needs to see what they have in Drury, but Drury's situation isn't as clear-cut as the Yankees are trying to make it sound.
If Andujar continues to play at this pace prior to the Yankees first game on March 29, the Yankees will have no choice but to give him a spot on the 25-man roster. Not only would he deserve a spot on the roster, but he must be a part of the opening day lineup. The way to do that is simple: move Drury to second base.
Versatile roster can make this happen
One reason that the Yankees had been trying to acquire Drury all offseason was because of his versatility. He has the ability to play both third and second and do a good enough job at both positions. Drury spent a majority of the 2017 season at second, where he played 114 games. In those games, he had a .977 fielding percentage, committing 10 errors. He only appeared in one game at third for the Diamondbacks at third, committing one error in seven innings.
Since Drury can move over to the second base slot, third base will be open for Andujar to take over. Everyone knows Andujar can hit and the question that has been following him is if he can field consistently over at the hot corner. This spring, Andujar has yet to commit an error, and he improved his defense last season at Scranton where he only committed seven errors.
All the tools are there for Andujar to become the next great young Yankee. Although some hope that number one prospect Gleyber Torres is the next man up, Andujar seems to be closer. Going with Andujar to start the year allows Torres to continue to shake off what rust he has from Tommy John surgery last year. It also allows the Yankees to look at the future over at third.
There is still plenty of time for things to shake out. Who knows, this time next week Andujar might be in the middle of a slump. But early in camp, Andujar is showing the Yankees why he should be the one manning the hot corner come Opening Day.