Should Miguel Andújar or Brandon Drury be the starter at 3B?

With the injured Brandon Drury now healthy, but possibly not fully healthy, there’s been a minority of Yankee fans that think Drury should be starting over youngster Miguel Andújar. One of those is one of Bronx Bomber Ball’s very own, Gus Wetekamp. Spencer Schultz takes the stance that Andújar should not be going anywhere, while Gus argues that he should be demoted. See their sides of opinion below:

Photo Credit: Julie Jacobson/AP

Spencer Schultz: Yankees should not demote Andújar

For awhile now, Miguel Andújar has been one of the top prospects in a stacked Yankees farm system. After the injury of Brandon Drury early on, Andújar finally got his chance to prove his worth in the majors. Since being called up, he’s ran away with the starting job and with Drury now healthy and at Triple-A, there’s no reason to send Andújar down. Demoting him for a second time would only stunt his growth, whereas if you continue starting him, you let him work out the kinks and go through the struggles that every Major Leaguer has to go through. Sure, he’s been a pretty bad defender so far, but Drury’s isn’t much better. Despite a very small sample size, Drury’s defensive metrics, according to FanGraphs, ranks just 89th out of the qualified 107 third baseman. Andújar happens to rank dead-last amongst third baseman as he’s committed two errors thus far, as Gus mentioned, but his offense has made up for it. Drury has played 58 innings at third base on the season in his still young Yankees career and committed three errors in that span. Who’s the better defender? Surely Drury, but Andújar is a much better hitter. Now 33 games under his belt on the season, Andújar has accumulated a slash line of .286/.296/.483. His OBP of .296 is much lower than one would like, but when he does get on base, he’s proved his worth. In 147 ABs, Andújar has 13 doubles, four homers, and 16 RBIs while earning an offensive WAR of 0.7.

With their strengths and weaknesses balancing things out, although Drury does have a versatility advantage on Andújar, you have to give it to the 23 year-old rookie. I would like for both Andújar and Drury to be on the MLB roster, as I think Drury didn’t get much of a chance before going down with the injury. With that being said, there’s currently just one spot for them on the team and I’ll end with this question: Would you rather have a 23 year-old rookie that’s the superior bat or a seasoned veteran that’s proved to be a pedestrian MLB player?

Gus Wetekamp: Yankees should start Brandon Drury and demote Miguel Andújar

I realize what I’m about to argue for may be unpopular. However, I believe the numbers will back me up on this. Now that Brandon Drury is fully healthy, the Yankees should send Miguel Andújar back down to Triple-A. Don’t get me wrong, I really do like Andújar. He’s brought a spark of energy and youth to this team, as well as an electric bat. I cannot deny his impressive offensive numbers so far this campaign, he’s posted a .286 batting average with 16 RBIs and is slugging .483. Nonetheless, there are serious questions about his play defensively. According to FanGraphs, Andújar is currently the worst defensive third baseman in all of baseball, ranking 107th out of the qualified 107 . On the year, he sits at -6 defensive runs saved, his Revised Zone Rating, a measurement of range, is at .596, and his Ultimate Zone Rating or UZR is currently -3.0. In comparison, Drury in his very limited time at third this year has been much better with the glove. His runs saved sits at -1, his RZR is at .630, and his UZR is -0.7, in a very limited sample size of just 58 innings compared to Andújar’s 252. In addition, Drury’s no slouch with the bat, he’s a career .270 hitter and has a .447 slugging percentage in his three-plus seasons in the bigs. To me, however good Andújar is on offense, which so far he has been great, it will not justify how bad he is on defense.

Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports

The good part is, there’s still plenty of time for him to improve. He’s still only 23, and will benefit greatly from another extended stint in Scranton, where he can better learn the techniques of playing third. Here’s another thing. Drury is currently working his way back from migraines and blurry vision, which he says has plagued him for six years. Despite this, he has been a quality player. Now that his vision has been corrected and he is no longer fighting the headaches, it’s not hard to predict he will be even better. Some had advocated trading him, to which I would say, don’t you want to see what you have before you get rid of him? He’s only played 8 games for the team, and if he’s not as good as you hoped, he and Andújar can be flip-flopped from Scranton, no harm, no foul. I, for one, do not see the point in getting rid of a 25-year-old that can play multiple positions and is going through a recovery that should boost his playing abilities. For me, I’d rather have ~60% of Andújar’s bat with ~50-60% better fielding. Andújar may very well be the third baseman of the future, but to me, Drury is the third baseman of the present for this team. Wanna yell at me? Follow me on Twitter.

Article by: Spencer Schultz and Gus Wetekamp


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