Yankees Brian Cashman will continue to surprise us at the trade deadline

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Gio Urshela

After batting .225/.274/.315 in 167 games across three seasons with the Cleveland Indians (2015, 2017) and Toronto Blue Jays (2018), the “happy fella” was acquired by Brian Cashman from the Jays on August 4, 2018, for cash considerations and was sent to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

After an impressive Spring Training in 2019, Urshela was sent back to Scranton with a chip on his shoulder, as the former Indians top prospect was snubbed due to the overwhelming amount of talent that the Bombers walked in with on Opening Day,

With the likes of Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres and Troy Tulowitzki in the infield, things would change on April 6th.

Miguel Andujar would go down with a labrum tear in his right shoulder after sliding back into third base awkwardly, forcing the 2018 Rookie of the Year Runner-up to the 10-Day IL. Just days later, Troy Tulowitzki would go down with a calf-strain, landing the former All-Star on the 60-Day IL, and giving Gio Urshela his chance to shine.

After a month on the big league roster, coming up in multiple key spots, playing the hot corner with ease and embracing the pressure of the pinstripes, Aaron Boone made an appearance on WFAN Radio with Mike Francesca to explain why Urshela had earned his spot in the Bronx.

"“Absolutely. I think what we’ve seen, really on both sides of the ball, and because he’s so good defensively too, he has earned a place on this team right now,” the Yankee skipper said. “It’s hard to envision him not (in the majors)… he has gotten several big hits for us. He’s driving the ball. He has just been a steady guy right in that lineup.”"

It wouldn’t be realistic to believe that every role player that the Yankees relied on early in the season would pan out; however, Gio Urshela has been exceptional in replacing Andujar at third base, slashing .307/.472/.832 with seven home runs and 39 RBIs.

Urshela’s play almost earned him a spot on the 2019 American League All-Star team after finishing second in voting behind Houston Astros standout, Alex Bregman.

Not much thought ran through the heads of Yankee fans when Urshela made his way onto the big league roster in April. Many viewed Urshela as a temporary platoon option at third base, while Andujar rehabbed his shoulder.

Yet here we stand on July 9th, and Gio Urshela is taking his game to another level, increasing his walk rate by 6.5% from last season, while decreasing his strikeout percentage from 23.4% to 18.9%. Gio has improved his contact rate as well, going from 58.1% in 2018 to 75.9% through four months in 2019.

His timely hitting, outstanding defense and positivity in the clubhouse have played a major role for the Yankees in 2019, as teams around the league continue to scratch their heads when trying to figure out how Cashman finds these type of players.