Join Jays From the Couch as we highlight the 2019 season of Buffalo’s Richard Urena and Vancouver’s Luis De Los Santos
INF Richard Urena
Richard Urena was signed as an IFA on July 3rd, 2012. He just finished his 7th season in the Toronto Blue Jays system. He quietly worked his way through short-season rookie ball, overshadowed by Franklin Barreto until the Josh Donaldson trade removed Barreto from the equation. Urena has always been a low OBP guy who doesn’t walk much. In 2015, his first year in full-season ball, Urena hit 16 HR between A-Ball and A-Advanced. Unfortunately, he has been unable to replicate this type of power and appears to be more of a doubles hitter with the ability to hit a hand full of triples and home runs.
The once a highly regarded prospect split the 2019 season between Toronto (30GP) and Triple-A (98GP). Urena was called up and sent down 4 times in 2019, posting respectable Triple-A numbers. He only played 9 AAA games in April, followed by 14 games in May. He spent all of June and July with Buffalo and made 20 appearances in August.
Urena struggled in May, batting .196 with no doubles or triple but 2 home runs. He rebounded in June with a .281 batting average. Richard Urena would bat .280 and .289 in July and August, collecting 4, 6, and 6 doubles. The native of San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic batted .270 with 7 doubles, 3 triples, 3 home runs, and a .674OPS in 56 games prior to the All-Star break. In 42 games after the All-Star break, Urena batted .279 with 11 doubles, one triple, 3 home runs, and a .747OPS.
Overall, Richard Urena finished with a .274 batting average, 18 doubles, 4 triples, 6HR, 43 runs scored, 52RBI, and 3-for-5 in stolen base attempts. His .307wOBA and 78wRC+ put his production below league average. His .119ISO was in line with his career average.
Urena mostly batted 6th (30GP), 5th (29GP), and 3rd (24GP) for the Buffalo Bison. He had the most success batting 3rd with a .296BA, 14 doubles, 4 triples, 5HR, 48RBI, and a .768OPS. With runners in scoring position, Urena batted .324 with a .823OPS.
The 23-yr-old saw his strikeout rate climb from 17.9K% in 2018 to 21.1K% in 2019. His walk rate improved from 4.5BB% in 2018 to 5.7BB% which resulted in a slight BB/K improvement from 0.25 to 0.27. The switch hitter did a better job of barrelling up the ball in 2019 with a 24.5LD%. He produced a 39.5GB% and 36.0FB% with a 5.8% HR/FB. Richard Urena pulls the ball 42.6% of the time, going up the middle 24.1% and opposite field 33.3%.
In the field, Richard spent much of the season as the Bisons primary SS. In 57 games, he committed 15 errors and posted a .934FPCT. He played 39 games at 2B (4 errors) and 1 game at 3B.
With the Blue Jays Urena .243 with 6 doubles, 4RBI, and a lowly .258wOBA.
Home: .261BA with 10 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 26RBI, and a .692OPS
Away: .287BA with 8 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 26RBI, and .722OPS
Most Productive Game
On August 30th, Richard Urena went 2-for-3 with 5 total bases, a run scored, a home run, 5RBI, two walks, and a strikeout. Urena collected 6 total bases on July 21st and scored 2 runs on four separate occasions but 5RBI and 2BB were season-highs.
Richard Urena will be out of options in 2020 and doesn’t appear to have a defined spot on the Blue Jays roster. Urena’s best chance at making the team will be as a utility infielder; however, he is a strong candidate to be removed from the 40-man roster if/when trades are made and free agents are signed. If Urena secures a spot on the roster he will be used to give Bo Bichette a day off at SS and Cavan Biggio at 2B. He will need to beat out Brandon Drury who will be competing for a similar role. Santiago Espinal will also be considered.
INF Luis De Los Santos
Luis De Los Santos was signed as an IFA on July 2nd, 2015 and made his professional debut on June 8th, 2016 (0-for-1) as a member of the Dominican Summer League Blue Jays. He got his career off to a good start with a .291BA, 7 doubles, a triple, a home run, 16RBI, 10/32 BB/K, and a .710OPS in 52 games. His success earned him a promotion to the GCL in 2017 and Bluefield in 2018.
Luis De Los Santos began the 2019 season as a member of the A-Advanced Dunedin Blue Jays. Luis played 5 games with the D-Jays but was sent down to Lansing on May 15th where he appeared in 25 games. Unfortunately, De Los Santos struggled to make adjustments, batting .205 with 4 doubles, a triple, and 6/19 BB/K. On June 17th, Luis De Los Santos was sent to Short-Season A-Ball Vancouver Canadians. This is where he amassed the most GP so this will be where we focus our review.
Luis De Los Santos struggles continued with the C’s, batting .217, .186, and .222 in June (11GP), July (25GP), and August (21GP). He finished with a dismal .259wOBA and 50wRC+ while walking 4.5BB% and striking out 17.6K%. He also finished with a .079ISO after collecting 12 doubles and hitting 2HR.
De Los Santos produced groundballs in 57.6% of his batted balls in play and only 25% resulted in flyballs. He did produce line drives in 17.4% of his batted balls. Luis uses the entire field, spraying 41.0% to the pull side, 22.9% up the middle, and 36.2% to the opposite field.
In the field, Luis De Los Santos played 26 games at SS where he committed 4 errors for a .960FPCT. He played 25 games at 3rd base and committed 6 errors for .914FPCT. De Los Santos also played 14 games at 2nd base where committed 3 errors for a .949FPCT.
Home: .193BA with 7 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 8RBI, and .500OPS
Away: .239BA with 5 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 13RBI, and .603OPS
LHP: .213/.208/.340 (47AB)
Most Productive Game
On July 17th, Luis De Los Santos went 2-for-3 with 5 total bases, a pair of runs scored, a solo home run, and an RBI. He had two other 5TB games. He had one 4-for-4 game and six 3-hit games.
The native of Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic, may have missed his chance at grabbing hold of a position. He is facing an uphill battle with Miguel Hiraldo, Leonardo Jimenez, and Orevlis Martinez set to play in Lansing and Vancouver in 2020….or just Lansing which is possible. I could see De Los Santos being used across many levels as an organizational filler.
Featured image credit: R.Mueller
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