P2Daily: Finding A Fit For Miguel Andújar

The Pittsburgh Pirates made a slew of moves throughout the season, really trying to throw as much against the wall as possible to see if anything would stick. For the most part, they did this to try and cover the rest of the season’s worth of innings in the bullpen, but they also plucked a few position players off of waivers.

It was the last one that was maybe the most notable, and it was a waiver pickup that might actually have the most upside to it.

Miguel Andújar hit 27-home runs with the New York Yankees back in 2018, finishing second in the AL Rookie of The Year voting. He’s struggled to stay healthy since, and the Yankees filled his positions, so when he wasn’t injured, it was hard to find playing time.

It was only nine games, but Andújar collected four extra-base hits, nine RBI while slashing .250/.275/.389.

In a short span, he’s certainly someone who earned himself at least another extended look going into 2023. The only question will be how exactly the Pirates will continue to utilize him?

How exactly they plan on doing so can shape how the Pirates approach the offseason.

Andújar creates an unique opportunity in the lineup: A right-handed bat that has already shown the ability to consistently hit the ball to the left-center gap with power. Being a righty as well helps create a little bit of diversity in the lineup, with the Pirates often being left-handed heavy sometimes.

What it will come down to is where the Pirates decide to play him on defense. As soon as he was claimed it seemed the consensus favorite was for him to play first base, although he’s had a very limited amount of time there.

He’s played third base and left field in the majors, but hasn’t played particularly well at either. According to Baseball Reference, Andújar has a career -2.8 dWaR mark in the majors, and Baseball Savant’s model isn’t any better.

Andújar has an -3 Outs Above Average in the outfield with the Yankees, although it was a +1 this year before coming over to the Pirates.

Things got a bit complicated towards the end of the season, with the Pirates sliding Bryan Reynolds over to left field in the second to last game. If that’s going to become something permanent, that takes away left field from Andújar, and would really leave just first base.

Regardless, Andújar is here to hit, and barring any big moves that further covers his positions, he’ll be given that chance to do so next spring.

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Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

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Duckhunter

Play him as DH and be done with it

docdon385

Pirate fans are desperate and I get that because I’m one too, but grabbing at anything shiny and hoping for a gold ring is just not realistic. Andujar had a few nice hits in his 9 games in Pitt and at least didn’t look lost like so many other Cherington waiver claims did, but since 2018 his performance has not been good. I hope he blossoms into a star, but there’s a long way to go before that happens.

Many are now disparaging Chavis but as I recall there was a time not long ago when he was being discussed as part of the future. He did some nice things as well during his time here including some important home runs and good defensive plays, although he made other bad plays. Comparing the two players is not fair but, since some people continue to do it…Chavis had 14HR and 49 RBI in 401ABs this year. Andujar has had 8 HR and 39RBI in 395ABs since 2018. Give him a chance but try to keep perspective.

EightMenOut

Andujar’s 40 at bats are a very SSS. But he passed the eye test where others did not. He batted against both right handers and left handers (so not a platooned/protected average and OPS). He struck out just 5 times in 40 at bats, so just 12.5%, that compares very well to the rest of the team. At least three times He came to bat with a man on third and made contact to collect the RBI (striking out with men on base is a problem for a number of Pirates this year). Having a decent right hand batter, who makes contact, batting behind Bae, Cruz, and Reynolds would be a great development for this team. Just looking at the OPS is probably misleading, he was a very good bat for the Pirates over those nine games.

Mtgj

I really like your reply. Going off of number for just nine games is misleading. He had good at bats, made contact when it was warranted and had plenty of pop when he hit it. As you said- He passed the eye test.

I don’t think that he should be given anything, but he is not the same as van meter or chavis or Yoshi.

Andujar has potential and I wouldn’t mind seeing him get some at bats at the beginning of next year.

On a side note I listened to both BC and DS talk about andujar when he got here and they both said he hasn’t played first base and the plan isn’t to play him there, so unless something changes over the offseason I see him as a DH type and a guy that can start in the OF a few days a week to give the other guys a day off.

mikeschalke

He absolutely has to be given an opportunity next year. As previously been said if he can hit they’ll find him a spot. He has way more potential upside than Chavis.

leefieux

They’ll find him a spot if he can hit. 1b, DH, etc. Even had he hit .400 for us (let alone a sub .700 OPS), I don’t trust Sept stats. See Yoshi and Ke’Brittle. Maybe they’ll give him a few months in 2023 to see if he can recapture that rookie magic. Time will tell, but I have a feeling that there is a’book’ out on him and that he, like Chavis, was a rookie flash in the pan.

b mcferren

made no sense for them to not give him reps at first to end the season

leefieux

We should give everyone on the team reps at 1b, lol.

Catch_22

…and you’re still going to have a 1b problem

SBRO

Wait, Andujar’s OPS in these 9 games is .664 and we’re trying to find a fit for him? Chavis put up a .654 and was DFA’d.

He didn’t even get a Tsutsugo ‘21 dead cat bounce, he just put up the same mediocre numbers he did with the post-2018 Yankees. Similar line to Hoy Park.

jaygray007

Yes, the mindset behind this article seems like peak Rebuild Brain. the fit for Miggy is aggressive pop off the bench who can fill in at 1b, 3b, and LF. I dont understand why we need to be so quick to commit to more than that.

Catch_22

That’s an incredibly small sample you’re using for Miguel vs an extremely large sample for Chavis. Additionally, Chavis has zero positional flexibility…he’s 1b only and he’s 5 ft nothing

SBRO

Expand the sample to 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 with the Yankees. It doesn’t change. The guy hasn’t hit.

And as for positional flexibility, Andujar is flexible only in the sense that he’s a poor defender everywhere.

Catch_22

If I had a dollar for every player that couldn’t play under the bright lights of NY, I’d have enough for a good bottle of bourbon and then some.

At least with Andujar, there’s a season where he popped 3.7 fWAR. Chavis is well below replacement for his career. Team like the Pirates should kick the tires on a guy like Andujar and kick to the curb guys like Chavis.

SBRO

I hope your optimism is warranted about Andujar. But really all we have to go on is that he was good 4 years ago, and he hasn’t been good since.

And for the record, I’m in no way stumping for Chavis, only pointing out that there is a standard for failure, Chavis is below that standard, but I’m far from convinced that Andujar is above it.

AdministrativeSky236

I say that bottle of bourbon gets shared around piratesprospects

roberto

Some things can’t be done virtually.

AdministrativeSky236

Looks like the group of milb free agents leaving has been announced, dont know if thats been posted here at all

leefieux

Some bigtime losses here.

RHP Tyler Beede
RHP Jerad Eickhoff
RHP Austin Brice
RHP Eric Hanhold
LHP Dillon Peters
C Taylor Davis
INF Josh VanMeter
INF Michael Chavis
OF Greg Allen

Last edited 3 months ago by leefieux
joesolo6181

Are you kidding? I hope so.

leefieux

I’m kinda frightened that you really aren’t sure. 🙂 🙂 😉

jaygray007

i dont really understand why the implication is that they need to find him everyday at bats. or to guarantee him a spot.

Ideally, they WILL cover 1b, DH, and OF over the course of the offseason. Ideally, the team will be improved to the point where he’ll have to force his way into the lineup.

he’s a perfectly fine waiver claim. perfectly happy with it. im even relatively intrigued by him. perfectly fine guy to try to work with over the winter. perfectly fine guy to plan on having on the bench. perfectly fine guy to pencil in for a few starts per week until he proves he needs more or less than that. I just can’t imagine having the mindset of wanting to hand him everyday at bats at this point.

I realize we all still have rebuild brain but at some point we need to have higher expectations. we deserve better

Last edited 3 months ago by jaygray007
emjayinTN

The Pirates need to continue to rebuild from within. Hayes, Cruz, Castro, Reynolds, and Suwinski are the foundation in place at the conclusion of 2022. Add Ji-Hwan Bae and Endy Rodriguez within the first 2 months of 2023. Davis shortly thereafter and possibly Malcom Nunez as a 1B option.

Other teams move their prospects quickly when they identify a need, but the Pirates seem to always need to see more of them in the minors. But, we can waste an infinite number of MLB AB’s on guys trying to hang on. That has to stop or this team will never be taken seriously.

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