As expected, the Yankees announced today they have activated third baseman Gio Urshela from the 10-day injured list. The 27-year-old missed the minimum amount of time due to a left groin injury.
Urshela’s breakout stands as one of the most surprising and remarkable stories of the 2019 season. A career .225/.274/.315 hitter entering the year, Urshela was forced into unexpected action by a rash of injuries, most notably Miguel Andújar’s season-ending labrum surgery. To say Urshela took advantage doesn’t come close to doing him justice.
Over 414 plate appearances this season, Urshela has mashed to the tune of a .331/.370/.555 line (142 wRC+), putting him in position to contend for the AL batting crown before this recent IL stint ended his chances of reaching the requisite number of plate appearances to qualify. To be sure, he’s not likely to keep up this level of output. His .366 BABIP seems unsustainable and dwarfs any batted-ball results he’d managed in his career pre-2019. It’s also fair to look askance at MLB’s twelfth-highest chase rate (minimum 400 plate appearances), although players like Javier Báez and Rafael Devers have made similarly aggressive approaches work in recent seasons.
Even if Urshela won’t be quite this good a hitter moving forward, he’s certainly set himself up as a valuable piece for a Yankee franchise that couldn’t have anticipated him doing so a few months back. Statcast loves him, for instance, crediting him with an 80th percentile average exit velocity and above-average hard contact rate, helping to explain his strong ball-in-play results. Urshela also comes with a reputation as a strong defender at the hot corner, even if his advanced metrics suggest he’s more competent than Gold Glove-worthy. What’s more, he comes with four years of team control beyond this season and won’t be arbitration-eligible until after next year, making him an affordable option throughout his prime seasons.
Urshela’s 2019 performance seemingly gives him the inside track on the 2020 third base job in the Bronx, which will lead to an interesting offseason for Brian Cashman and company to decide how to handle Andújar as he returns to a crowded corner infield/DH mix next season. More immediately, Urshela will look to help the Yankees secure home field advantage in the postseason, as they enter Sunday tied with Houston for the AL’s best record.
I’d say this gives credence to the thought that the defensive advanced metrics just aren’t all that useful yet. He can handle the hot corner with the best of them. I’d say the only thing he struggles with is chasing down pop ups when he’s near short during shifts. Otherwise he makes all the tough plays and has a great arm.
Defensive metrics are extremely overrated imo and usherla has shown that. I love this guy ! Can’t believe the Indians gave up on him so quickly
I love Gio but I see him and DJ as the back ups…..ANdujar has to much upside, had a decent spring in the field, I see DJ rotating daily between 1st 2nd 3rd dh, gio at 3b and as def replacement
Remember Gio hasnt been like this before
True but late bloomers aren’t out of the norm in mlb either. Like Jose Bautista for example
Bautista was 29 or 30 years old before he had a season with an ops+ over 100
DJ is not a “back up”. He’s just a guy capable of playing multiple positions. However, unlike a “super utility guy” he should be in the lineup the majority of the time.
I’m the biggest Andujar supporters there is and I have confidence that he can have a really good career but I have to give it to Gio. He’s a much better defender and his bat has earned him the right to be the everyday guy for 2020.It doesn’t mean Andujar should be traded just for the sake of moving him but I feel Cashman will play it slow and see how things unfold. Injuries have a way of sorting things out.
Lemathieu has been the Yankees best player. Certainly not a backup. I could see Didi elsewhere next year, which is a shame. I love Didi, but Gleyber can move there and you save a bunch of money for more pitching and locking up the arbitration guys.
problem with that comment Yankeepatriot is that he was previously with the Bue Jays
And the Indians.
We just accept whatever metrics given without really knowing how legit the formula they use is. I like the fact that we are trying to quantify a players defensive metrics but it doesn’t always tell the true story. How can they REALLY evaluate a position players defense from 1925 compared to a player today?
Also, if WAR was the end all then Gary Sanchez is nowhere near as bad as most believe. They have him at a -0.4 DWar and a -1DRS. Last year he had a DWAR of +8.9 and a DRS of a +6. Am I reading something wrong? Honest question.
In the real world I don’t think most people would take Willie Randolph and his 62 WAR (mostly based off of great defense and a great 13% walk rate) over Sandberg (60.9), Cano (57), or Kent (56) and Randolph is one of my all-time Yankees. And his WAR is right behind HOF’s Alomar (63.6) amd Biggio (65.8). I mean Willie ranks 13th among all 2B in the history of the game. While I love the guy I would never insist that he’s HOF worthy or better than any of those guys I mentioned.
It’s good to use but in instances it doesn’t smell right in context of the real world.
I would trade Andujar for any young starting pitching.
They’d probably be lower level pitching prospects.
I disagree. As long as Andujar proves he’s healthy he should be able to net either a SP knocking on the door or a current young controllable mlb pitcher. Yankees have a ton of lower level pitching prospects and a couple a year or two away. A year isn’t enough to prove what his future will be but a full season of success should be enough to get them a SP they can use immediately. It won’t get us a Walker Buhler type but I do think there’s a handful of guys out there Cashman could target.
Andujars value has been depleted because of injury, and below average defense. He’s probably relegated to being an AL only player, a DH type. With all that said who needs a player like that at this point when those types are easy to come by.
You’re overreacting. ANY player that is currently on the injured list has to prove their health prior to almost ANY team trading for him. In history there’s been a few exceptions. However, Cashman isn’t going to trade low on him. He will likely wait until he’s, at minimum, played some winter ball perhaps or a good spring training showing.
Also, please stop acting as if Andujar would be the only bat first position player in the AL or even the NL. Plenty of examples of bat first guys in the NL and Castellanos’ is a great example. A horrible defender who was actually traded FROM the AL to the NL? Why, because his bat was that good. I feel that bodes well for Andujar.
And I don’t think Andujar is a finished product. He’s not a lumbering, non-athletic player. He might be able to work himself into a league average defender at 3B. But let’s stop this idiotic idea that he’s the one and only top prospect turned mlb player with defensive issues. They are literally scattered across baseball. It will be something he needs to fix on to be a fixture at 3B but I bet teams won’t care as much as long as his bat produces like it did in 2018 and he’s cheap.
There wasn’t much of a return for Castellanos. Do you happen to watch the Cubs with the way Madden manages his lineups? That’s one way Castellanos plays well in Chicago.
Let’s just wait and see if the guy even makes it back.
The dh might be on the table next year, which would make him more attractive to all the teams. He’s so bad in the field though. The Yankees have 5-6 guys who should DH.
They weren’t on any top 100 lists but they were the Cub’s 2018 1st round pick and their 2018 2nd round picks. Not exactly nothing..
But even that’s unimportant. The point was to show you that plenty of teams, both AL and NL happily employ guys who are bat first position players. And if you can get a guy that’s young (24), cheap (pre-arbitration) and controllable (4 years) that can produce a year similar to Andujar’s 2018 rookie season of 47 doubles, 27 homers and .297/.338/.527 with a relatively low K rate of 16% then that’s someone most teams would want, even with his defensive limitations. Isn’t that what makes a Edgar Martinez or David Ortiz HOF’s?
Funny the yanks could have had gertit Cole a few years back for andujar and Frazier
That was one rumor I heard. I also heard the Pirates wanted Torres to be one of the guys included. It’s a tough deal to look and say “what should of” happened. At the time Cole was not performing the same way he is now. I also think, and this can’t be ignored, I don’t think he would’ve been as successful coming straight to NY. I think Verlander and the Astros coaching staff were able to get the best out of him. Now, I think he’s capable of repeating that wherever he might end up if not back in Houston. But again, I think Verlander showed him how to get the best out of his talents.. NY may not have been as successful.
Don’t trade Miggy and let Gio take over the hot corner. Let DJ be our third baseman and package Gio and Miggy for a starting pitcher. Hear me out! Gio is the second coming of Scott Brocious. He couldn’t hit in Oakland we got him and hit over .300 for one year and we trade away Mike Lowell. So I think we should keep Miggy or trade him and let DJ take over and Gio be a bench player or package him with Miggy
Gio never played in Oakland, his only teams prior to the Yankees were the Indians and lastley the Blue Jays!
But Brosious did
@jaysfansince1977 He’s refering to Scott Brosius. He came up from Oakland prior to going to NY.
But honestly, Brosius wasn’t a good example to use.. He did have that one year where he had a .900 OPS with Oakland, He had a couple of years with 15-20 homers so he wasn’t a virtual unknown quantity that Gio was. Gio played inconsistently as opposes to Brosius who played 600 + games in Oakland including his last 3 years there as a starter. Gio never played 100 games in a season and never posted an OPS above .610 at any point and time with Cleveland.
Brosius was a pleasant surprise. Gio is a wtf did that come from.