Designated Hitter – Miguel Andújar
The Pittsburgh Pirates claimed Miguel Andújar at the end of the 2022 season. Andujar, a former Rookie Of The Year candidate, looked like he could be an integral part of the New York Yankees back in 2018. However, injuries and breakouts pushed Andújar down on the Yankees’ depth chart. Now, he’ll look for a chance for playing time with the Pirates.
Back in 2018 Andújar batted .297/.328/.527 with 27 dingers and a whopping 47 doubles. The third baseman walked at a sub-5% pace but struck out at an outstanding 16% rate. Overall, Andújar had a .361 and 129 wRC+.
There were talks of moving Andújar to another position back in 2018, as he was a terrible third base defender. He was worth -21 defensive runs saved, -7 outs above average, and a -24.5 UZR/150. This past season, he mostly played left field for the Yankee Triple-A affiliate.
Speaking of his playing time at Triple-A this year, how’d he do there? In 297 plate appearances, Andujar slashed .285/.330/.487 with a .355 wOBA and 113 wRC+. Andujar showed off his low-strikeout/walk approach with an outstanding 11.3% strikeout rate but a poor 5.7% walk rate. He also hit for decent power, reaching 13 home runs in less than 300 plate appearances and posting a .202 ISO.
Andújar only played nine games, but two of those were multi-hit games, and at least one hit in six of the nine contests. If the Pittsburgh Pirates don’t feel Andújar is the guy to start the year at DH, they could go bold, give Jared Triolo the second base job, and move Castro to the DH role. Another player who could see time at DH early in the year is Cal Mitchell, who had a solid September but struggled on the defensive side of things.