Know your prospects: Giovanni Urshela

Name: Giovanni Urshela
Position: Third base
Current team: Double-A Akron Aeros
Age: 21
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 197
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
2013 stats: .275 AVG, 17 R, 8 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 5 BB, 23 K, .680 OPS
Facts & Info: The Indians signed Urshela as a free agent in July of 2008 out of Colombia. Last season, he led all Carolina League third basemen in fielding percentage and finished ninth in hits (122), eighth in doubles (30), 14th in home runs (14), 13th in RBI (59), and eighth in total bases (196).
The Offense: Urshela’s game as a hitter continues to improve year in and year out.  At the plate he has a lot of room for growth and has a good approach with good hand-eye coordination and an ability to make consistent contact. His power is still developing, but he flashes good gap power and as he matures more power may come – something already demonstrated last season.
The Defense: Urshela is a highlight reel defender that has Gold Glove potential. He showcases impressive instincts at third base with very good lateral range to his left and right, soft hands, a very strong and accurate arm, and an exceptional ability to come in on balls. He plays the position with ease and has a calmness to his defense where he shows great hands and is a vacuum where he consistently makes the routine play and also makes the exceptional plays look easy.
The Intangibles: Urshela is a fringe average runner. He is a very coachable player with good maturity for his age.
The Focus: The defense is there as Urshela at worst grades out as an above average defensive third baseman in the major leagues, but to make it and have success in the upper levels of the minors his approach at the plate still needs a lot of work. What he has always done well is limit strikeouts, but he needs to be more patient at the plate and get a better understanding of the strike zone so he is more selective and swings at pitches he can drive and not just make contact on.
Outlook: His bat started to show signs of life in the second half of last season, Urshela’s best pro campaign to date.  He is off to a slow start this year, though he is young for Double-A and is a notorious slow starter. He has really been pushed by the Indians since the beginning of his career, and it is amazing how he has developed to date considering he has been 2-3 years younger than the league average at every level he has played so far. He could be a late bloomer offensively, and if the offense catches up to his major-league ready defense, he is a serious third base prospect to watch going forward.