Blue Jays Richard Urena has turned it around in July after struggling to get it going early in New Hampshire
At the beginning of the 2017 season, Richard Urena was labeled the future shortstop of the Blue Jays. With a #79 ranking on the Top 100 ranking and Top 5 ranking on most Blue Jays Prospect lists, Urena’s arrival in Toronto appeared to be just a matter of time.
Signed out of San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic in 2012, the 6-foot-0 infielder was overshadowed by Franklin Barreto. With Barreto included in the deal that brought the Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson, Urena’s star was free to shine.
And shine it has.
The switch hitting SS has posted excellent numbers in 2015 and 2016. His bat showed quick wrists that produced solid gap-to-gap power with the potential to hit double HR. His contact rate was a little iffy but a strong arm and a good glove (some questions around quickness) had him sticking at short.
With just 30 Double-A games under his belt. It was no brainer that Urena would start 2017 as the Fisher Cats everyday shortstop before an early or mid-summer promotion to Triple-A Buffalo.
After all, he hit .266 with 6 doubles, and 5 triples during his 2016 Double-A audition.
After hitting .213, .250, and .234 in April, May, and June, Urena star wasn’t shining so bright. Throw in the emergence of Bo Bichette and Urena’s future appeared less clear than it did on Opening Day.
Now I will go on record, I suggested that Bichette emergence has made Urena expendable (full article). I stand by that article.
Don’t look now but Richard Urena has quietly put himself back on the map. He is batting a cool .293 with 6 doubles, a HR and 6 RBI in July (11GP). He hit doubles in 5 straight games and has matched his career high in doubles with 24. He’s accomplished this feat in 40+ fewer games.
Urena continues to be a free swinger. His 17.6 K% is up from 14.8 K% but his 6.0 BB% is up slightly from 5.8 BB% from his time with the D-Jays in 2016. While the elevated K% sucks, I like that he was able to maintain his BB% despite the higher level.
If Urena can carry his current hot streak into August and start showing more HR power, a trip to Buffalo at the end of the season will be within his grasp. More importantly, a strong finish will allow him to fend off Bo Bichette for a few more months.
Past 30 Days on the Farm
Jason Leblebijian is cold, batting just .204 with 3 doubles and 3 HR.
Urena’s 11 doubles tops the system over the past 30 and his 27 H leads the Fisher Cats during that period.
Welcome back, Max Pentecost. Welcome, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Maybe Bo and Vlad can get Bradley Jones out of the funk he’s been in since joining the D-Jays. Prior to landing on the DL, Jones was batting .156 in 17 games.
Edward Olivares continues to turn heads. With a .295, 9 doubles, 2 Triples, 4 HR, 13 RBI and 4-for-4 SB, Edward should be on everyone’s radar.
Mitch Nay is making quick work of the Midwest. With 21 games under his belt, Nay is batting .264 with 4 doubles, 2 triples, 4 HR, and 14 RBI.
Riley Adams is making a good first impression in his rookie season. Adams is batting .386 with 10 doubles, 2 HR, and 18 RBI.
Kacy Clemens is showing C fans that his more than just Roger’s son. Clemens is batting .292 with 4 doubles, a triple, 2 HR, and 16 RBI. He has also gotten a few gold stars for his work around the bag.
Ryan Noda. Ryan Noda. This year’s Bradley Jones. Noda is batting .571 with 7 doubles, 2 triples, 4 HR, 12 RBI and 14/16 BB/K proving he is more than Jones. Don’t be surprised to see Noda fly over Vancouver and head straight to Lansing before the end of the season.
Catcher Ryan Gold has driven in an impressive 21 RBI in just 48 at-bats.
2 weeks into the season and Catcher Jonelvy Molina has stroked a pair of HR and is batting .292.
RF Andres Martinez leads his Blue Jays with a .340 BA, 18 RBI, and .802 OPS.
Yhon Perez has also posted some nice stats in the DR with a .295 BA, 5 doubles, 2 triples, and 11/9 BB/K.
*Featured Image Credit: Buck Davidson UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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