Winter League performance is not encouraging as two young hitters struggle
With baseball at a complete standstill, the New York Yankees still have a number of Winter League players in the Dominican Republic. The winter ball is mainly used for players returning from injury or for those who want a little extra work during the offseason; one of the team’s big league starters played in the south this month.
Switch hitter Aaron Hicks used 12 games of action to recover from a wrist injury he sustained last season and knocked him out for most of the year. He’s only played 32 games, leaving the Yankees incredibly thin in the outfield after Clint Frazier was forced out due to vertigo.
In addition to Hicks, they also had several minor league players on the field, looking to get some extra work and get ready for spring. Some performed better than others, but aside from Hicks, the other two hitters had a hard time getting things done.
NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty listed the stats for every player in the Winter League:
Aaron Hicks, FC
Statistics: .265, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 10 K, 4 BB, 53 AB, 12 G
Wandy Peralta, RHP
Statistics: 3-0, 3.72 MPM, 11 appearances, 9 2/3 IP, 15 K, 3 BB
Miguel Andujar, UTL
Statistics: .161 BA, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 6 K, 1 BB, 31 AB, 8 G
Estevan Florial, CF
Statistics: .167 BA, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 10 K, 7 BB, 24 AB, 9 G
Luis Medina, RHP
Statistics: 0-0, 4.92 ERA, 2 sends, 3 2/3 IP, 6 K, 4 BB
Albert Abreu, RHP
Statistics: 3-3, 2.25 ERA, 6 sends, 24 IP, 11 K, 10 BB
It is quite disappointing to see the downfall of Miguel Andujar in the last few seasons. After recording an average of 0.297 with 27 circuits in 2018, Andujar saw his progress stop and decline. He played 45 games last season and, although he reached 0.253 with six homers and 19 points, his defensive qualities have become a handicap.
The Yankees never wanted to give up Andujar, testing him on first base, outfield spots and pretty much anywhere he could field without making a mistake. Sadly, he’s just not a good enough defenseman to be an everyday Major League player. He’s a solid offensive add-on, potentially as a DH, but the Yankees have too much punching power to reserve him for this role. They better trade it with a team that can try to reshape it.
Another disappointing prospect was Estevan Florial, who only touched 0.167 in the Winter League. Struggling with injuries in recent years, Florial was known as a five-tool prospect and on the verge of becoming a major leaguer at stud. However, its development took much longer than expected. At this point, there is no guarantee that he will reach the majors and become the player he was destined to be a few years ago, when he was the first prospect in the Yankees farming system.