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Luis Urias Breakout year?

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Offline  Luis Urias Breakout year?
#1

Posted: January 13, 2021, 9:50 AM Post
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So the discussion of various utility infielders that we are busy signing got me thinking about what to expect from Luis this year.

His numbers at the MLB the last three years are nothing to write home about and not significantly different than previous MLB years:
2020: 239/308/294/602
2019: 223/329/326/655
2018: 208/264/354/618

However, he was recovering from a hamate bone break last spring. And while he played, I believe most people expect a full recovery in a year - especially considering bat control is heavily handled by the wrist.

I started digging into his MiLB numbers a bit more and he certainly was a different player - higher average and good walk rates. And he was typically 3-4 years younger than the competition.
AAA: 305/403/511/913
AA: 296/398/380/778
A+: 330/397/440/836
He only had ~100 games below A+ ball. His results weren't great, but I think the about 430 more recent games is a better prognosis anyway.

Going into this year, I'm going to predict a mini-break out year for Luis: 275/365/390.

Thoughts?
Luis


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Offline  Re: Luis Urias Breakout year?
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Posted: January 13, 2021, 9:55 AM Post
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I'll add that I think Luis is probably capable of hitting 300/400/450, so I don't think I'm even predicting that big of a stretch for him. A 755 OPS 3rd baseman is about average for the MLB and he was good defensively there too.


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Offline  Re: Luis Urias Breakout year?
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Posted: January 13, 2021, 10:32 AM Post
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Urias hasn't hit at the MLB level, career OPS+ of 73, but context renders those results of limited utility.

We're talking about 422 PAs, spread out over three years, 120 of which came post-hamate injury in a Covid weirdified season, while he was ages 21-23. Like, everybody's pretty excited about Garrett Mitchell right? He'll likely be opening in A ball as a 22 year old.

Coming into 2019 Hiura ranked between #6 & #20 by BA/BPro/MLB. Urias came in between #17 & #31 on those same lists. Keston had the edge in the most important area, power, but Luis wasn't far behind in the eyes of most evaluators on account of much being better afield & not having as much swing-n-miss in his profile.

Personally, I'm not ready to write off a 24 year old, who has yet to play a full MLB season & posted a 308/397/433 career minor league line with a 12.7% K rate while being around three years younger than his competition at each level.

ZiPS projects Urias at 246/333/386 (90 OPS+) for 2021 & I'd like to think Luis can clear that. I'll say something like 270/350/400.


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Offline  Re: Luis Urias Breakout year?
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Posted: January 13, 2021, 10:51 AM Post
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I can get on board with that but we really need to find a way to get him to his more natural position of SS or 2B.


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Offline  Re: Luis Urias Breakout year?
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Posted: January 13, 2021, 11:09 AM Post
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I am a believer that we haven’t seen anywhere near Urias’ ceiling yet.

Clay Davenport’s Projections have Urias as the 2nd most valuable player on the Brewers in 2021 behind only Christian Yelich. They have him projected for a 4.0 WARP season over 145 games played. A lot of his value is on the strength of his defense, but they are also projecting more power than we saw last season (17 home runs). His projected slash line is .249/.339/.414.

I would probably take the under on those power projections, but if he’s able to slug over .400 combined with the rest of his skill set he’ll be a valuable starter for the Brewers next season.


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Offline  Re: Luis Urias Breakout year?
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Posted: January 13, 2021, 11:20 AM Post
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CheezWizHed said:
However, he was recovering from a hamate bone break last spring. And while he played, I believe most people expect a full recovery in a year - especially considering bat control is heavily handled by the wrist.

One other thing that I think is sometimes forgotten is Urias spent nearly the entire month of July in quarantine with COVID. He had a series of positive tests and was basically confined to his apartment without baseball activities for more than three weeks. He missed Summer Camp and showed up later than others to Camp Appleton. That’s a difficult stretch for a professional baseball player to go without hitting, fielding, throwing, etc. Especially with so little time to then ramp up for the season coming off the mentioned hamate bone injury.


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Offline  Re: Luis Urias Breakout year?
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Posted: January 13, 2021, 11:40 AM Post
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I'm optimistic about Urias. I liked his defense, and with missing both "preseasons" (especially with the hamate fracture, which tend to sap power) I expect a lot more from him offensively. How much more is hard to say, but I think he will, at a minimum, hit enough for his defense to make him an average starter, or ~2 WAR if given regular playing time. His minor league performances suggest even more, but I'll stick to the lower end of what's reasonable for now.


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Offline  Re: Luis Urias Breakout year?
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Posted: January 13, 2021, 1:42 PM Post
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Much more optimistic about Urias as a 2nd baseman or Shortstop rather than at 3rd.


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Offline  Re: Luis Urias Breakout year?
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Posted: January 13, 2021, 1:58 PM Post
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wallus said:
Much more optimistic about Urias as a 2nd baseman or Shortstop rather than at 3rd.


Because of his defense or because his bat plays better there?

I thought his defense (by eye test) was good. I think I saw he had a positive bWAR for 2020, despite a 600 OPS, so I'm guessing his defense made up for his lack of offense.

If he hits 750 OPS (as I'm predicting), even OK defense will play at SS. But I'm thinking he becomes much more average on D at SS.


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Offline  Re: Luis Urias Breakout year?
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Posted: January 13, 2021, 4:16 PM Post
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CheezWizHed said:
wallus said:
Much more optimistic about Urias as a 2nd baseman or Shortstop rather than at 3rd.


Because of his defense or because his bat plays better there?

I thought his defense (by eye test) was good. I think I saw he had a positive bWAR for 2020, despite a 600 OPS, so I'm guessing his defense made up for his lack of offense.

If he hits 750 OPS (as I'm predicting), even OK defense will play at SS. But I'm thinking he becomes much more average on D at SS.


More about the bat than defense. I think he can play SS with all of our shifting where I feel like a strong arm is a little more important than range.


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