By: Ethan Cushman
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Miguel Andujar has become one of the best hitters on one of the best lineups in baseball. But what if would tell you that at many different points including the beginning of the year it appeared that his future with the team looked uncertain. People thought he might be traded before he ever stepped up in pinstrips again. To break it down it starts on June 28 2017 at this point Andujar was highly thought of by scouts but wasn't yet a consensus top 100 prospect yet much less a lock to be a star (disclaimer, I'm not saying hes a lock to be a star yet either but it looks very likely). The consensus was he can hit yeah but his defense is no were near major league ready yet. People were saying that despite his cannon arm his foot work would possibly either make him a future dh or 1st baseman. But this brings us to June 28th the day at the time Yankees dh Matt Holliday was but on the dl the Yankees called up Andujar despite only 7 games in triple a under his belt. It was unknown whether how long he'd stay but many thought at the time that this was the Yankees way of saying “we want him for the future”. But the Yankees made their intentions very clear when despite a 3-4 performance at the plate with a franchise high 4 RBI’s for a debut he was optioned the next day to triple a for another top prospect Dustin Fowler. After the tragic Fowler injury the Yankees recalled Andujar but again optioned him the next day for a another top prospect Clint Frazier. Andujar despite tearing it up in triple a with a 317 batting average Andujar still wasn't getting the call till late September when not only did the rosters expand a while back in September but the triple a season had ended. At this point Andujar was a consensus top 100 prospect due to his triple a performance but still he wouldn't play till the last game of the season as an early game defensive replacement only to allow Starlin Castro to keep his batting average at 300 he would only get three at bats and go 1-3 that game.
This brings us to this offseason. After the massive acquisition of reigning nl mvp Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees intentions were clear. They were going for it all. And the Yankees had to say to themselves. They traded away Chase Headley which opened up a hole at third that Andujar could fill. But all along it didn't seem like a plan. They were linked to Todd Frazier, Mike Moustakas especially on one year deals and next year it seemed like Machado to the Yankees was a no brainer and inevitable. But the Yankees despite there being no clear place with Andujar kept attached to him. Despite the Pittsburgh Pirates wanting Andjar to headline a package the Yankees were hesitant to do so and tried to headline Fraizer in the deal. Ultimately the deal fell through but this lead hope to Andujar that the Yankees saw a future for him. But that would again be refuted with the acquisition of a young controllable third baseman in Drury which apparently Cashman thought he had untapped potential and had been trying to get him for the last 4 years sorta the the Didi Gregorius and Aaron Hicks deals. But Casman still said that there was a battle at third with Andujar and Drury. But then that was refuted as Andujar had a strong spring and was still sent to the minors. It seemed like a Andujar headlining package for someone was going to happen.
But this bring us to this year. And long story short Andujar has proven the haters wrong. He was first called up when Aaron Hicks replacement Billy Mckinney who was only up when Hicks got hurt because Frazier and Ellsbury were on the DL Billy Mckinney got hurt forcing Andujar to play dh and have the normal dh Giancarlo stanton play left and Gardner play center. Then with the Drury injury it forces Andujar to play 3rd base the one thing all the scouts hated on him for. Andujar got off to a great start and despite cooling down when Drury came back they decided to option Drury instead of Andujar and he has only gotten better since then.
From hard work and determination Miggy was able to not only make himself the current third baseman of the future for the yanks but has likely cemented himself in that roll for many years to come. I could go on more and more about other obstacles in his road that he had to overcome. The one thing that we should take away from this story is to seize the moment. Injuries piled up allowing him to get his shot and instead of just “accepting the truth” that he was gonna get traded he worked hard to prove he belonged. No one likes to see injuries but ultimately it gave Andujar the opportunities for success.