TRENTON – By now, most Yankee fans know his name, many of them have even called for his immediate presence at the hot corner in the Bronx right now. Thunder third baseman Miguel Andujar, the Yankees 10th ranked prospect according to MLB.com, is in the midst of a torrid offensive stretch that has helped catapult Trenton into the top-spot in the Eastern League with a 34-18 record.
The 22-year old Dominican native got off to a very slow start in April, slashing .250/.275/.393 in 22 games for the month. As the cold weather began to dissipate and the page on calendar turned over to May, the bat of Andujar has since scalded. In 28 games in the month, Andujar hit a robust .327 (34-for-104) to raise his average 43 points; he laced 13 doubles and drove in 24 runs over that stretch.
“Every time I go into the cages, I am always focused to hit with a plan and I transfer that to the field,” said Andujar through pitcher Nestor Cortes, who translated on his behalf. “When I am hitting I am looking for a pitch and if I get a good pitch to hit, I am going to swing at it because I am not afraid to try and put the ball in play to knock in some runs.”
“I haven’t changed anything,” added Andujar. “My key to success is looking at video and looking for positives in the video and trying to take that into the field and transfer it into every game that I play.”
On Thursday night, Andujar went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .297 ; he drove in three runs and blasted his sixth homer of the year to extend his hitting streak to 11 games in a 6-3 victory over Binghamton. During that streak, the guy refferred to by his teammates as “Miggy”, is hitting .500 (20-for-40) with two homers, seven doubles and 14 RBI. Andujar currently leads the Eastern League in RBI with 41 and is second in doubles with 17.
“All throughout my career in the minor leagues, I have felt like I am the guy who has to get it done offensively,” said Andujar. “That has always been the way that I like it.”
Thunder Manager Bobby Mitchell has witnessed a quick and dramatic maturation in his young third baseman that has fueled his team’s ascension in the standings.
“His confidence is building rapidly,” said Thunder Manager Bobby Mitchell. “He doesn’t panic now when he gets one strike or the umpire makes a bad call; he is a hot hitter and he is really locked in as a hitter. He is seeing the ball really good.”
Mitchell added, “He is maturing as a hitter and showing that he has no panic. When you have guys on second and third, young guys will start to panic in that situation and be too anxious. Anxiety starts to set in and they swing at bad pitches. There is not a better guy that I would want up there right now than him.”
On a Trenton team that has scored 249 runs on the season, just four off of the pace for the league lead, Andujar finds himself as the team leader in at-bats, hits, doubles, homers, RBI and total bases. On the other side of the diamond though, Andujar also leads the team in errors committed with eight.
The organization has always been a firm believer in his right-handed bat playing at the major league level. Their concern however, has always been his ability to play major league caliber defense at third base. Since debuting in the Gulf Coast League as a ripe 17-year old in 2012, Andujar has made 107 errors in 469 career minor league games; nearly one every 4.3 games.
“He is working his tail off to try and get better,” said Mitchell. “He has still go a ways to go and he knows it, but his work habits are outstanding and his confidence throwing the ball is so much better now than when he first got here.”
Andujar added, “In practice I go at it with a purpose. I am obviously trying to cut down on the errors and I am going in there with a plan so that when I go out to the field I can just have fun like I do in practice.”