Don’t Forget About Miguel Andujar

Miguel Andujar, thanks in part to a monstrous August, is the 10th best 3B in standard roto, and that rank would be higher had Freddie Freeman and Scooter Gennett not stumbled into 3B eligibility last season. With Ronald Acuña Jr. and Juan Soto stealing the national spotlight and Gleyber Torres getting all the attention in New York, Andujar’s solid year has gone relatively unappreciated. For most of the season fantasy baseball pundits dismissed his success as a small sample size, predicting that pitchers would make an adjustment and he would begin to struggle. Through August Andujar has sustained his success and has shown that he can hit regardless of the situation.

Andujar’s counting stats have fluctuated rather dramatically month to month with huge power numbers in June and August, but the floor for his batting average, hard-hit percentage and line-drive rates have never cratered. He hasn’t had one of the spectacularly lengthy slumps that rookies are prone to suffer (like Andrew Benintendi last season). We aren’t talking about a floor like Nolan Arenado or anything like that, but a player with 30+ HR upside who also isn’t going to tank your team in batting average is someone worth keeping an eye on in all-formats.

Delving deeper into his splits (see the table below, and if you find nothing useful about my analysis please just appreciate the time I saved you by compiling a bunch of Fangraphs stats here) we see that Andujar does not show extreme tendencies against RHPs (.310/.338/.533) vs. LHPs (.277/.317/.508). Nor does he fall apart with men on base – slashing 317/.337/.523 with no one on and .277/.339/.505 with runners in scoring position. Finally, his power numbers are not purely a function of hitting in Yankee Stadium, with 9 of his 23 HR coming on the road

It’s difficult to call this beginners luck. July’s .330 batting average was no doubt driven by a .400 BABIP, but overall a BABIP hovering around .330 is not wholly unsustainable especially considering that it does not appear that pitchers have found a huge weakness to exploit. Andujar is posting positive numbers against all pitch types except splitters, and it’s not like the rest of league enjoys trying to square up splitters anyway.

There are red flags that can’t be ignored, chief among them being Miguel’s aversion to walking. If his BB numbers continue to stay in the single digits on a monthly basis then he will be much more difficult to utilize in OBP leagues. It’s also curious that in the months where he flashed the most pop (7 HR in June, 10 HR in Aug.) he also had the lowest hard-hit percentages  (32.1% and 31.4% respectively) which suggests that he could be leaning more toward an all-or-nothing approach at times. We also shouldn’t overlook that Andujar hasn’t exactly been Brooks Robinson on defense, and if he continues to have negative defensive ratings across the board there is always a risk of lost playing time.

My point, if there is one amongst this random assortment of observations, is that next year when everyone is still clambering to grab Acuña, Soto and Torres there is a late round alternative to consider.

 

Jake Blodgett

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Like most of you I am addicted to fantasy baseball. Since I spend most of my time talking about it, I figured I would write some of my thoughts down. I am a shameless promoter of Mike Trout and an even more shameless Shohei Ohtani apologist.

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