Little did the New York Yankees know what happened in 2018 when they made a minor-league trade for Gio Urshela, a trade that hardly reached the sportswriters. In Urshelas case, the Yankees played the Buffalo Bisons, a Blue Jays affiliate; the Yankees need a 3rd baseman for the game to the got Urshela from the Bisons for cash. Not an uncommon transaction. What the Yankees got was their future major league star player at the hot corner at Yankees Stadium.
After Miguel Andujar went down to should surgery in 2019, the Yankees found themselves again looking for a third baseman, this time in the bigs. They called up Urshela. By the end of the season, he was a Yankee star going .314 with an OPS of .889 while being one of the best defenders in baseball. He 2020 shorten season even while dealing with a bone spur, he hit .298, his walk rate doubled, and his strikeout rate dropped. Most player’s performances dropped across baseball in the old 2020 season. On that basis, Urshela actually approved in 2020.
Gio Urshela Yankee report card: A
2020 Stats: 43 games, 174 plate appearances, .298/.368/.490, 6 HR, 30 RBI, 136 OPS+, 1.9 bWAR, 1.6 fWAR
After the 2014 season, the Indians added Urshela to their 40-man roster. He was named the Indiansâ€™ 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 skillful play at the 3rd. Base.
On August 4, 2018, the Blue Jays traded Urshela to the New York Yankees to exchange 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.
In his brief stay with the Yankees, he has played well at 3rd, even making spectacular plays that many wonders if Andujar could have made, considering that Miguelâ€™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. He played so well he has received praise from manager Aaron Boone and a tweet of support from the Columbian President.
The New York Yankees expected that he would be able to handle third base.Â What they didnâ€™t expect was his discipline, timely and powerful hitting behind the plate.Â It was a win-win situation for the Yankees as they got Glove Glove-like defense at third base and a powerful bat at the plate. When Gio would make near impossible plays at third, he became an immediately loved Yankee player.
As the season progressed, Urshela just got better and better.Â He ended the season with the second-highest batting average, only second to MVP DJ LeMahieu. Gioâ€™s average was .314 with a .889 OPS and a career-high 21 home runs in just 132 games. With the start of the 2020 season, it appears that Gio hasnâ€™t missed a beat.
As I said earlier, Urshela played for a time with an elbow bone spur. He got through the season, only missing 17 games. He was rehabbing well, but a setback caused him to have surgery on the elbow. He is expected to miss three months, but only some of the spring training should be ready to start the season, although he may have to ease into it.