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Giovanny Urshela's first taste of MLB this season was bittersweet

Urshela was called upon to provide a glove not looking like a frying pan at third base. But how did his bat hold up?

Giovanny Urshela making one of his spectacular plays in the field
Giovanny Urshela making one of his spectacular plays in the field
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Even though Giovanny Urshela made his MLB debut this year at 24, he has been with the organization since 2008. He was one of five international free agents signed that summer. In 2009 as a 17 year old, he split time between the Dominican and Arizona Rookie League teams.

He moved up the ladder one rung at a time, with 2012 his best year to date, hitting 755 OPS and 105 wRC+ at Carolina (A+) as a 20 year old. He played a full season at Akron in 2013 and struggled that first go round (676 OPS, 85 eRC+). So in 2014 he started again in Akron and kept on displaying highly regarded glove while adding a 914 OPS (147 wRC+ in just 98 PA, prompting a quick promotion to Columbus.

There was not much of a drop off as he slashed 276/331/473 (120 wRC+) to complete last season. The Columbian native then played in Venezuela last winter to get some playing time. He was one of the more impressive hitters in the league, 398/424/556 before an injury to his left posterior cruciate ligament in his knee shut him down.

Luckily he did not require surgery and reported to spring training. But incumbent Lonnie Chisenhall was slated to open as the Opening Day third baseman and Urshela returned to Columbus to start 2015.  He continued to hit decently (272/298/469) as Chisenhall not only flailed with the glove, but with his calling card, the bat. So on June 9, Chris Antonetti made the change. Chisenhall was optioned to Columbus and Urshela made his debut.

And for the month of June, the move paid off as Urshela stabilized the fielding at third, yielding just two errors on the month. Plus, the bat was definitely playable with a 92 wRC+. But at some point near the All Star break, he strained his right shoulder. The injury didn't seem to affect his fielding much as he amassed just six errors total for the season.

But the injury definitely affected his hitting. He dropped to just a 70 wRC+ in July and a pitiful 42 in August. He appeared to rebound in September, but sat out a good portion of the month, only returning for the final week. I am not really sure why Terry Francona allowed Urshela to play for two months with a sore shoulder unless Urshela didn't bother to tell anyone until he just couldn't take it anymore.

It is also very possible Urshela could have struggled even if he was healthy. I mean he was just 23 and in first MLB season. But the shoulder injury at least gives him a pass in my eyes to see what he can do in 2016. He has shown the ability to improve in the past, granted against lesser competition. But heading into 2016, he will still only be 24.

That isn't to say that if the Tribe can find an upgrade at third they shouldn't listen, but I feel Urshela deserves a second chance next season. He is still is young enough and under control until 2021.

G

PA

2B

HR

BB

K

AVG

OPS

wRC+

fWAR

bWAR

Columbus

22

84

5

9

3

12

272

767

68

-

-

CLE-June

19

63

0

2

4

11

271

690

92

-

-

CLE-July

25

87

4

1

3

16

241

625

70

-

-

CLE-Aug

24

93

1

2

8

20

179

512

42

-

-

CLE-Sep/Oct

13

45

3

1

3

11

220

655

81

-

-

CLE total

81

288

8

6

18

58

225

608

81

0.1

-0.1