New York Yankees 2020 Projections: Gio Urshela
Gio Urshela will look to repeat a career year for the Yankees in 2020
Gio Urshela had his best season during his professional career in 2019, and he almost didn’t have the opportunity even to play. Before the season started, Miguel Andujar was the projected starter at third base for the New York Yankees, and Urshela was the backup. The Yankees acquired Urshela from the Cleveland Indians because of his glove at the hot corner. His bat wasn’t all that special, but he could certainly make contact, but his specialty was his defense.
A season-ending shoulder injury put Andujar on the IL and threw the then 27-year-old Urshela into the starting lineup at third base. Urshela was certainly up for the task at hand, and he proved it by being another consistent bat/glove in the lineup for the Yankees in 2019.
Urshela appeared in 132 games for the Yankees in 2019, and it was his best season yet. His batting average was tops on the roster at .314, and he recorded 139 hits to go along with 21 home runs and 74 RBI.
There was some speculation that Urshela’s inexperience would hurt the Yankees in big games, including the playoffs. While he struggled at times at the plate against the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros, he still hit two home runs with a couple of RBI and only two strikeouts. He showed excellent plate discipline in the playoffs last year, which is a telling sign at how much of a good player he is.
As previously stated, Urshela was acquired by the Yankees because of his defense. Even though Andujar was decent on defense, his offense was the strength of his game. Urshela, on the other hand, his defense was his strength, but his offense came around as he got more plate appearances. Urshela proved that the Yankees made the right decision in trading for him because of his glove. In 123 games at third base, he recorded only 13 errors, and his fielding percentage was a staggering .954. Defense wins championships, and the Yankees know they have a third baseman capable of handling the pressure to solidify the defense.
2020 is going to be the telling sign if Urshela was a one-hit-wonder or if he is the real deal. He certainly has the potential to prove that he can continue his success from 2019.
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Urshela is a talented player all around, and I expect him to mirror his success from last season. His batting average will certainly eclipse .300, his home run total may go up, but with the number of games in question, the numbers may not go up, and the same goes with his RBI.
Gio Urshela took advantage of an opportunity that was handed to him last season due to an injury to Miguel Andujar. He now has a stranglehold on the third base job, and 2020 should be his true breakout season to prove that 2019 was not a fluke.