New York Yankees Player Profiles: Gio Urshela, was his season a fluke?

William Parlee
New York Yankees, Giovanny Urshela
Jun 6, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Yankees shortstop third baseman Gio Urshela (29) celebrates as he crosses home plate after hitting a home run against Toronto Blue Jays in the fourth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

It’s enjoyable doing player profiles for players New York Yankees fans may not be that familiar with. With all the Yankee Injuries, many triple-A stars made it to the bigs last season, having a chance to show off their talents and give the team a reason to keep them in the majors. Geo Urshela is such a player filling in for Miguel Andujar at third base.

Gio’s player history:

Twenty-eight-year-old Giovanny Urshela is a Columbian baseball player for our Yankees. He has previously played for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cleveland Indians. Urshela signed with the Cleveland Indians as an international free agent in July 2008. He made his professional debut in 2009, playing for the Dominican Summer League Indians and the Arizona League Indians. He spent 2010-2013 in single-A.

He started the 2014 season with Akron and was promoted to the Columbus Clippers of the Class AAA International League during the season. After the 2014 season, the Indians added Urshela to their 40-man roster. He was named the Indians’ fourth-best prospect by MLB.com in 2015. He batted .227 for the Indians before being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays.  Urshela batted .233 with one home run and three RBIs in 19 games for Toronto, before he was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on
June 26. During his time with the Jays, he was noted for his timely hitting and very capable play at 3rd. Base.

Urshela comes to the New York Yankees

On August 4, 2018, the Blue Jays traded Urshela to the New York Yankees in exchange for cash considerations. The Yankees assigned him to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Urshela was called up by the Yankees to the bigs on April 6, 2019, as a fill-in for Miguel Andujar at third base. Urshela has been an out-making specialist in the big leagues and has certainly shown his worth at the hot corner.  Throughout the season, he made spectacular plays that many wondered if Andujar would have made, considering that Miguel’s play at third has been questioned.

Gio is well-liked in the clubhouse and fits in quite well. Some of this may be his not so young age and experience. So far although not a home run hitter, he is a timely hitter with a batting average of .314.  He had played so well he has received praise from manager Aaron Boone and a tweet of support from the Columbian President.

As the season progressed, it appeared that his place at the hot corner was his to lose.  Many Yankee fans compared him to Yankee great Graig Nettles.  His play was very Gold Glove-like.   The New York Yankees knew when they brought him up for Scanton that he would be at least sufficient at third, their only question was his hitting that was not stellar.   In his April, he proved his worth at 3rd, but didn’t shine at the plate.

Urshela solidifies his place with the Yankees

After a few weeks, something changed in Urshela.  He started to hit, and it didn’t stop for the rest of the season.  Some great players come to play at Yankee Stadium and just can’t cut it, while others like Urshela given the change embrace the spotlight and excel.  Over a six-game period he drove in the winning run twice.  He came in second to DJ LeMahieu for being the best player on the team.  He even hit 21 home runs.

Many fans thought his play last year may have been a fluke.  It is hard to believe that being the 2nd best player on a team of stars, is just a fluke.  Even with star Miguel Andujar back on the team this year, manager Aaron Boone has made it clear that Gio will be the starting 3rd baseman, and he will find another place to have Andujar play.

Reviewing Urshela’s stats, he plays particularly well against the Red Sox, Kansas City Royals, and, most importantly, against the Tampa Bay Rays.  Not only did he play well during the regular season, but he also showed his stuff in the postseason by hitting two home runs in the six games against the Houston Astros, and had a very respectable .828 OPS.

Urshela will repeat his excellent play

In the coronavirus shortened spring training camp, he only hit one home run in twelve games played with a .233 batting average, yet maintained his ability to get on base with his very satisfactory .728 OPS.  When this baseball season finally starts for the New York Yankees, they can be sure of his excellent defense; the only question is if he can repeat his on-base year again.  Even if he doesn’t meet last year’s stats but comes close, he will still be one of the Yankee top players.  This writer believes that he has found his place with the Yankees and will again embrace his job and continue to shine.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Reseach