The Yankees have an elite third baseman in Gio Urshela

By now, everyone knows that Gio Urshela has stunningly change into a helpful participant to the Yankees. Towards all odds, the previously all-glove, no-bat minor league third baseman now has the hit software to match his terrific fielding.

In 2020, Urshela cemented himself as one of many Yankees’ finest gamers. He completed third on the group in each main calculations of WAR, was second in RBI, fourth in OPS, fourth in wRC+ and led the group in FanGraphs’ defensive score and DRS. That’s greater than only a good discover off the waiver wire – that’s one of many group’s most dear contributors!

We’ve done deep dives into Urshela earlier than, however the extent of his offensive development (and the way he’s finished it) is price mentioning once more. That is the place Urshela ranked leaguewide in numerous offensive metrics (courtesy Baseball Savant):

Urshela improved throughout the board in 2020. His exit velocity climbed even larger, his strikeout and whiff charges have been downright stingy, and he even doubled his stroll charge. Urshela might be 29 subsequent yr, and though he has been the final word late bloomer, he most likely can’t enhance way more than this.

That’s OK although, as a result of Urshela has already climbed into the higher MLB echelon at third base. Third base is among the deepest positions in baseball, and one which’s arduous to win with out an elite expertise at. During the last two years although, Urshela has confirmed that he belongs within the top-10 dialog.

In 2020, he was tied for the fourth-best WAR amongst third basemen, was sixth in wRC+, had the fourth-most defensive runs saved, and was third in RZR. If we increase that to the final two years, Urshela is thirteenth in WAR, fourth in wRC+, has the sixth-most defensive runs saved and is sixth in RZR on the sizzling nook. These are a number of the preeminent metrics used to quantify offensive and defensive worth and evaluate to different gamers, and Urshela has come out in near-elite standing in all of them for 2 years working. He might not appear to be within the Alex Bregman, Matt Chapman, Justin Turner class to outsiders, however the numbers present he has been one of the vital helpful third basemen in baseball since 2019.

An apparent distinction between Urshela and the remainder of the elite is wage. Urshela is simply coming into his first yr of arbitration eligibility this yr at age-29, and received’t hit free company for 3 extra years. As a result of he was a late bloomer and since MLB’s system of membership management restricts participant wage throughout gamers’ first years within the majors, it’s doubtless that Urshela won’t ever earn the cash he really deserves – his first big-time contract might come at age 32 when he’ll already be on the decline. I’m not one to advocate for the Yankees willingly slicing payroll, however having such elite manufacturing at such a low value for Urshela is definitely a plus for the group shifting ahead.

The larger takeaway right here is that Urshela has change into an undisputed a part of the group’s core shifting ahead. That core (at the very least offensively) was regarded as Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and Gary Sánchez, however there are various ranges of uncertainty round all three gamers in the meanwhile. The group’s different most dear offensive participant, DJ LeMahieu, is a free agent. Improbably, Urshela is now a significant a part of the Yankees shifting ahead in 2021. The group is stuffed with wild playing cards and unanswered questions, however Urshela has change into the uncommon constant contributor.

To different groups, Gio Urshela should still simply be that man the Yankees acquired off the scrap heap who can play protection and hit with a little bit pop. That’s not correct anymore, although. Urshela is a man to circle within the lineup, somebody who can and can beat different groups, and a long-term member of the Yankees’ core group.

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