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Yankees lose six players to the Rule-5 draft, acquire one

The Yankees’ minor league systems is deep even beyond the flashy prospects, and as a result, they had six players they chose not to protect on the 40-man roster selected by other clubs in the Rule-5 draft. Only one of the six Yankees, RHP Nick Green, was selected in the Major League phase, while five players were selected in the Triple-A phase. The Yankees chose one player of their own in the Triple-A phase in RHP Adonis De la Cruz. A friendly reminder for those who are not familiar with the Rule-5 draft, the teams who select these players must keep them on their active roster of either the Major League or Triple-A team, depending on the phase of selection, or be offered back to their former club. Here is a breakdown of Cruz and who the Yankees lost:

Prospect Spotlight: Miguel Andujar

Signed as an undrafted free-agent in July of 2011 as a ripe young 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, Miguel Andujar has quickly risen the ranks in the New York Yankees' farm system.  He is currently considered the best third base prospect in the organization and is listed as the Yankees' seventh best overall prospect according to MLB.com.
Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas | USA TODAY Sports

Andujar's career started off slow in 2012. He hit just .232 with one home run and a slugging percentage of only .299 in his first season of professional baseball with the Gulf Coast League Yankees. Surely, he was merely a blip on the radar at that point, but he has rocketed through the system rankings over the past two seasons which he has spent with the single-A Tampa Yankees and double-A Trenton Thunder.

While mostly know for his defensive prowess where he offers crisp footwork and a laser rocket arm at the hot corner, Andujar's bat has come alive over the past two season to the point at which he might be a viable option for the Yankees as early as 2017, should something happen to incumbent Yankees third baseman Chase Headley either via injury or in the event he is traded. 

Prior to his promotion to the Trenton Thunder this past summer, Andujar was hitting a solid .283 and led the Florida State League with 10 homers.  While he went on to hit only two more dingers once promoted to double-A ball, scouts and teammates alike have raved about Andujar's plate discipline, his quick bat speed and his ability to hit with power to all fields. For the year between Tampa (58 games) and Trenton (72 games), Andujar hit a combined .273 with 12 home runs, 42 extra-base hits and an impressive 83 runs batted in.

While Yankees prospect teammate Gleyber Torres stole the show in the Arizona Fall League this year, Andujar chipped in solid numbers as well, compiling a .284/.364/.373 line with another five home runs all while contributing clean, crisp defense at third base.

Andujar's path to the big leagues is a bit hazy at this point with Chase Headley (for now) still under contract for another two seasons and it's no surprise to anyone that the Yankees will likely be in hot pursuit of Orioles' third baseman Manny Machado once he becomes available following the 2018 season.  So where does that leave Andujar?  Is he the heir apparent for the third base job if the Yankees trade Chase Headley and/or strike out on Machado in free agency?  Is a position change perhaps in order?  Or will the Yankees use this valuable (but perhaps surplus) talent as part of a trade package?

At this point, it's not quite clear how the Yankees intend on using Miguel Andujar over the coming years but he is certain a prospect worth watching.  Few kids are able to explode onto the scene out of nowhere as he has and his talent in undeniable.  His ascension to relevance from a total unknown reminds me a bit of Robinson Cano's path to the big leagues in 2005, and the Yankees will be lucky if Andujar can be even half the player Cano has been.  You may not know much about this talented Dominican native, but he is sure to make his presence felt sooner rather than later.

Article by: Andrew Natalizio