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Pirates All 40: What Role Will Miguel Andújar Have Next Season?



pittsburgh pirates, miguel andujar

This is the one in a series of stories looking at members of the Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster.

Miguel Andújar had just a brief stint at the end of the season last year with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he was a key component of the final stretch of games.

The 27-year-old was claimed off waivers by the Pirates from the New York Yankees and the end of September.

Once he arrived in Pittsburgh, Andújar was slated into the middle of the Pirates’ lineup by manager Derek Shelton. He received time in left field and as a designated hitter.

Andújar rewarded the club by driving in nine runs in his nine games with the Pirates. He hit .250 with three doubles and a triple in all.

As a team, whether by coincidence or not, the Pirates went 6-3 in those nine games with Andújar in the lineup.

The native of the Dominican Republic has some pedigree from his time in New York. In his rookie year in 2018, Andújar finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year race behind Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani.

Since then, injuries and a lack of opportunities limited Andújar to just 114 games from 2019-22, but he figures to carve out a more significant role with the Pirates in 2022.

What might that role be? The easy answer is similar to that brief nine-game stint he had in the black and gold in 2022.

The Pirates have already avoided arbitration with Andújar and have agreed to a contract for next season.

Andújar figures to get plenty of opportunity in the outfield, especially as a right-handed bat to pair with lefties Jack Suwisnki, Ji-hwan Bae, Cal Mitchell and switch-hitting Bryan Reynolds.

He also could be a platoon DH option with either of the newly-acquired Ji-Man Choi or Carlos Santana — whichever receives more time away from first base.

Similarly to DH, he can serve as a right-handed complement to either of the two players mentioned at first base. He doesn’t have much professional experience at first base at all, but it has been speculated that he could see time at the position in Pittsburgh.

Finally, as a natural third baseman, Andújar could man down the hot corner in a pinch if needed, though his defense at third base has been well below-par throughout his career.

With a chance at increased playing time with an essentially new team in 2022, Andújar will try and see if he can become the type of player he was back in 2018 while wearing pinstripes.

Still just 27 years old, the Pirates are certainly hoping he can.

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