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How much patience will the Cleveland Indians show with Giovanny Urshela?

Will Urshela still be manning the hot corner in August?

Jason Miller/Getty Images

The newness of Giovanny Urshela hasn't worn off yet, as every at-bat and fielding opportunity is still an exciting chance to see what the young third baseman can do. Urshela has plenty of potential and hasn't been in Cleveland for long, but just how much patience will the Indians show if he struggles at the plate?

Urshela hasn't been terrible in his first 44 plate appearances in the big leagues, but he also hasn't set the world on fire. His batting line is just .250/.318/.325 entering today's game. He has one home run, four RBI, and hasn't attempted a stolen base. His offensive WAR in this small sample is -1.0, and he currently has a wRC+ of just 86.

He has shown a solid approach at the plate, making contact and putting the ball in play often. His strikeout rate of 11.4% is really good, better than all Indians' hitters except for Mike Aviles, David Murphy, and Michael Brantley (7.5% . . . wow).

Urshela put up average offensive numbers from 2009-2013 while in the minors, but had his coming out party at the plate in 2014 with a slash line of .276/.331/.473 and 18 home runs. Those are not elite numbers either, but are certainly very good, especially for a plus defender. Defense has always been his calling card, and he has looked comfortable at third base so far in Cleveland. (He does have two fielding errors in 13 games.)

Assuming he at least holds his own defensively, what kind of offensive numbers would put Urshela in danger of a demotion back to the minors? I think it's safe to say that unless something crazy happens he'll be given at least 150 AB's with the Tribe. So, does he keep his job if August rolls around and Urshela is hitting:

  • .265 and showing limited power?
  • .250 with limited power?
  • .225 with limited power?
  • .225 but strong power?

Ultimately, Urshela is safe for awhile, but will need to hit reasonably well if he wants to stay in Cleveland. The timing is different now than at the start of the year because in April and May a slow start doesn't seem that horrific. Losses are adding up now though, and the Indians desperately want to be in playoff contention, not mailing this season by the start of August. While there's no fantastic other option at third baseman (Chisenhall, Walters, Aviles) and a trade for a big name (Brett Lawrie) is unlikely, Urshela can't expect to hit .225/.310/.380 and keep his job.

Let's hope this is a very moot point and that Urshela starts tearing the cover off the ball, propelling the Indians with his defense and his offense. The next few weeks will be quite important not only for the Tribe's future, but in determining where Urshela spends the rest of 2015.