Andujar ranked third among top 3B prospects

January 23rd, 2018

NEW YORK -- Nearly every trade proposal that has crossed Brian Cashman's desk this winter mentioned 's name, with competitors interested in prying the right-handed-hitting third baseman from the Yankees' clutches.

Thus far, Cashman has resisted any temptation to include the promising slugger in negotiations, including spiking a proposal from the Pirates that could have shipped right-hander to New York. If the season were to begin today, Andujar very likely would be in the Opening Day lineup.

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"It's going to be interesting," Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said recently. "We've got a situation [where] we'll see what happens at third base. One of the possibilities in my mind somewhere in the infield is Andujar. He had a really good August in Scranton offensively and defensively was much improved."

Andujar, 23, has been named as the No. 3 third base prospect in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline. Playing last season for Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Andujar batted a combined .315/.352/.498 with 36 doubles, two triples, 16 homers and 82 RBIs in 125 games.

The Yanks' highest-priced signee in the 2011-12 international class at $750,000, Andujar led all Yankees Minor Leaguers in batting average and doubles, ranked third in RBIs and set a career high in homers.

He has displayed the ability to make consistent contact, striking out in just 13.6 percent (71) of his 522 plate appearances in 2017. Though Andujar's defense has been described as a work in progress, he boasts an impressively strong arm and has improved his hands and range.

"The bat is not a question mark," Cashman said recently. "It's just, is he finished off defensively yet? He's a very exciting talent; one that's being insisted upon, it seems like, in every conversation I'm having with anything that's high-end out there."

Andujar also played in five games at the big league level, including a memorable debut on June 28 against the White Sox in Chicago. Starting at designated hitter, Andujar went 3-for-4 with a double, four RBIs, a walk and a stolen base, setting a franchise record for RBIs in a Major League debut.

"What an amazing day. I'm never going to forget this day," Andujar said that night through an interpreter. "Super happy to be here, to play with these guys here and have the opportunity to contribute and then get a victory."

MLB Pipeline's third base prospects ahead of Andujar were Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays) and Nick Senzel (Reds). After Andujar, Michael Chavis (Red Sox), (Rays), Austin Riley (Braves), Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles), Colton Welker (Rockies), (Marlins) and Jake Burger (White Sox) earned recognition.