Currently the Yankees are thirty-one games over .500 and in the midst of an exciting season. The Bronx Bombers were predicted to be a championship contender at the start of the season and to this point they have not disapointed. Despite this all I seem to see on twitter and other social media is how much Aaron Boone needs to shake things up or how the team is lifeless. It's not the managers fault that the Red Sox are fifty games over .500. Boone, despite not having his two best hitters for almost a month, has the Yankees right where we thought they would be.
One of the main reasons why the Yankees have the second best record in all of baseball has been the play of their two outstanding rookies-Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres. At the start of spring training neither one of these young players was supposed to be starting let alone starring for the Yankees. Torres was the highly touted prospect acquired from the Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman trade. Yankee fans knew that Torres would be up and contributing at some point this season. The expectations for Andujar were not as high.
Andujar was signed as an ameture free agent in 2011 as a 16 year old kid from San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. After working his way through the minor league system he got his first taste of the big leagues on June 28, 2017 In Chicago against the White Sox. Andujar went 3-4 with 4 RBI in that game. He gave Yankee fans a glimpse of what was to come.
This season Andujar was not the starting third baseman, that honor went to Brandon Drury. Andujar did not get his first hit of the season until the ninth game at home against Baltimore. He took over as the regular third baseman on the 8th of April. It is no coincidence that about a week later the Yankees played their best stretch of baseball this year. Andujar, along with Torres are two of the most exciting young players in the American League. On July 6th Gleyber went on the disabled list with a right hip strain. His numbers have dropped since his return. In the mean time Andujar has been at his best. He currently is batting .300 with 20 homeruns and 63 RBI. He has been instrumental in keeping the Yankees afloat while Aaron Judge and Gary sanchez heal. Manager Aaron Boone has so much trust in the rookie that he has been batting him third.
Defensively he still has some improving to do. The ninth inning error in Boston not withstanding Andujar has played a pretty good third base. His play this year was a big reason why the Yankees did not become serious players in the Manny Machado sweepstakes. He is also closing in as the all time rookie doubles leader in Yankee history. That record is currently 44 held by the Yankee Clipper Joe Dimaggio. Anytime you are close to Joe Dimaggio in anything that is an accomplishment.
Andujar has had a rookie season worthy of recognition. Watching him play everyday you can see him improving with each game. Yankee fans should be excited. With Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres, Didi Gregoreous,and Greg Bird the Yankees have one of the most talented young infields in all of baseball. Add Luis Severino, Gary Sanchez, and Aaron Judge and the Yankees have one of the most exciting young teams in baseball. For the second straight year, this deep franchise should be crowning another rookie of the year. If this team can get healthy they have the potential to make a deep post-season run. I'm sure Miguel Andujar will be in the middle of any run they make.
Photo by Kathy Willens