Know your prospects: Giovanny Urshela
Name: Giovanny Urshela
Position: Third base
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Team: Double-A Akron
2013 Stats: .244 AVG (21-for-86), 9 R, 5 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 3 BB, 14 K, .639 OPS
Facts & Info: Urshela was signed as a free agent in July of 2008 out of Colombia. Last season he finished 14th in the Carolina League in at bats (439), 9th in hits (122), 8th in doubles (30), 14th in home runs (14), 13th in RBI (59), 8th in total bases (196), 12th in batting average (.278), 12th in slugging percentage (.446), and 14th in OPS (.755). He also led all Carolina League third basemen in fielding percentage.
The Offense: Urshela’s offensive game continues to improve each season. He has a lot of room for growth as a hitter 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 with his surge in power.
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 has a solid work ethic and in recent seasons has worked hard to improve the strength of his core. He is a very coachable player with good maturity for his age.
The Focus: What Urshela has always done well is limit strikeouts, which is rare for a young Latin American hitter, but being more patient with his approach is an area that continues to be stressed and worked on as he moves up the minor league ladder. He can hit almost any ball that is pitched, but he needs to be more selective and swing at pitches he can drive.
The Crystal Ball: Urshela 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 two to three years younger than the league average each league he has played in so far. He still has a long way to go and he could be a late bloomer offensively. If the offense catches up to his Major League ready defense, he is a third base prospect to watch going forward and one of the Indians best prospects.