MANKATO — Mankato MoonDogs manager Mike Orchard remembers watching Andy Stankiewicz play for the New York Yankees back in the early 1990s, and he sees a little bit of that same player every day when he watches Drew Stankiewicz play infield for his team.
“I think Drew might be a little stronger, but they’re very similar,” Orchard said.
Drew Stankiewicz would do well to have a similar career in baseball, and he’s honing his skills this summer with the MoonDogs. He smiles when asked about his father, noting that he gets asked about similarities seemingly every day.
“He was faster, but I’m stronger,” he said. “It was tough not seeing him a lot when I was growing up. He was gone a lot with baseball, so that was the hardest part.”
Stankiewicz’s father Andy had a six-year career in the majors with the New York Yankees, Houston, Montreal and Arizona. He served as a minor-league coach in the Seattle organization, but is currently the head coach at Grand Canyon University, about 15 minutes from Drew, who will be a sophomore at Arizona State. Andy is also working with the USA team this summer.
Drew was born while his dad was in New York, and his earliest memories are from days in Montreal and Arizona.
“All the guys used to baby-sit me (at the ballpark),” Stankiewicz said.
He said he was closest with Vladimir Guerrero, then a young outfielder with the Expos.
“That was pretty cool,” he said.
Stankiewicz has played some at third base, shortstop and second base, raising his average to .242 with four doubles, two triples and 15 RBIs, which ranks third on the team. In the last seven games, he’s batting .357.
“He’s young, and it took him a while to understand how to make it work,” Orchard said. “The skills are there, and he’s gotten a lot of big hits for us.”
Stankiewicz, who was selected by Colorado in the 2011 Major League Baseball draft, doesn’t mind playing all over the infield this summer, and his versatility is sure to be noted by scouts. But he wants to concentrate on shortstop in college.
“I’m starting to find myself,” he said. “Everyone is older, but I feel good about my hitting, and I’m playing with more confidence.”