Giovanny Urshela

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Giovanny Urshela

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 197 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Giovanny Urshela made the majors in 2015.

Urshela signed with the Cleveland Indians in July 2008; the scout was Jose Quintero. He made his pro debut in 2009, splitting time between the DSL Indians (.269/.316/.389, 24 RBI in 27 G) and AZL Indians (.257/.322/.276 in 32 G). He fielded .891 at third base between the two stops. In 2010, he moved up to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and produced at a .290/.326/.367 clip at age 18 and fielded .957. He led New York-Penn League third basemen with 52 assists. In 2011, he hit .238/.262/.347 for the Lake County Captains, with only 14 walks in 529 plate appearances. He fielded .934.

In 2012, Urshela improved to .278/.309/.446 with 30 doubles and 14 home runs for the Carolina Mudcats while fielding .964. The only drawback of note was his walk rate, which remained low (16 in 475 PA). He tied for 8th in the Carolina League in doubles and tied for 8th with 196 total bases. He then played for the Colombian national team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers. He went 3 for 12 with a double, homer (off Gustavo Martinez) and 3 RBI in the tournament, tying Donovan Solano and Steve Brown for the Colombian RBI lead.

Urshela was called up to the Indians on June 9, 2015 when 3B Lonnie Chisenhall was sent down to AAA with his batting average threatening to fall below the Mendoza Line. He made his debut against the Seattle Mariners that day, going 0 for 3 in a 3-2 loss. He hit his first big league homer on June 11th off Vidal Nuno in a 6-0 win, three innings after recording his first big league hit off Tom Wilhelmsen. He hit .225 in 81 games, with 6 homers and 21 RBIs while playing solely at third base. He then spent all of 2016 in the minors, hitting .274 with 8 homers and 57 RBIs in 117 games for the AAA Columbus Clippers, missing the Indians' run to the World Series. In 2017, he split his season between Columbus and Cleveland. In AAA, he hit .266 with 6 homers and 34 RBIs in 76 games, and with the Indians he hit .224 with 1 homers and 15 RBIs in 67 games. He played regularly in the Division Series, going 2 for 12 as the Indians were upset by the New York Yankees.

He began the 2018 season on the disabled list with a hamstring strain, then was sent back to Columbus on a rehabilitation assignment. He hit a solid .324 in 11 games, but there was no place for him with Cleveland and he was designated for assignment on May 4th, as he was out of options and could not be sent down to AAA for the duration. On May 9th, the Indians traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays for future considerations. The Jays had need for some infield help with SS Troy Tulowitzki and Aledmys Diaz both on the DL, and 2B Devon Travis having been demoted to the minors in order to find his hitting stroke. He spent the rest of May in the majors with the Jays, but hit just .138 in 12 games. He did a bit better in June, with 6 hits in 14 at-bats, but he kept losing playing time and made his last appearance on June 25th, ending up at .233 in 19 games, with 1 homer and 3 RBIs. He then spent the rest of the season in AAA, first with the Buffalo Bisons where he hit .244 in 24 games, and then with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders where he found his hitting stroke again, with a .307 average and 11 extra-base hits in 27 games. In between those stops, the New York Yankees had purchased his contract from Toronto on August 4th.

He was still in the Yankees organization at the start of 2019 and went 4 for 9 in his first two games for the RailRiders before he was one of a number of players called up to help the senior squad due to a rash of injuries. He made his first appearance for the team on April 6th. Playing at third base in place of the injured Miguel Andujar, he got off to a good start, going 6 for 20 with 3 doubles in his first 9 games. He also showed some good defensive skills. His presence was a godsend for the injury-racked Yankees, as Andujar was soon considered lost for the season, and other injuries depleted the line-up. By the time some regulars like SS Didi Gregorius were ready to return, he had secured his place as a key member of a dominant team. On August 7-8, he had back-to-back two-homer games, the first two of his career, as the Yankees were on a power surge, hitting 16 homers in 4 games (he was personally responsible for 5 of these). He was hitting .323 with an OPS+ of 145 in 94 games at that point. He finished the year at .314 in 132 games, with 21 homers and 74 RBIs. He played regularly in the postseason as well, and hit a pair of homers in the Yankees' loss to the Houston Astros in the ALCS. He stayed on as a regular player for the Yankees for two more seasons, in the pandemic-shortened 2020 and in 2021. He played in 43 of the 60 games the first year, hitting .298 with 6 homers and 30 RBIs and a sparkling OPS+ of 137, but fell to .267 with 14 homers and 49 RBIs in 116 games the second year, with his OPS+ falling to 96. The Yankees made the postseason both years and he went 5 for 28 in two round in 2002 with 1 homer and 5 RBIs, and 1 for 3 in the Yankees' loss to their eternal rivals the Boston Red Sox in the 2021 American League Wild Card Game.

On March 13, 2022, his tenure with the Yankees ended when he was traded to the Minnesota Twins alongside C Gary Sanchez in return for 3B Josh Donaldson, SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa and C Ben Rortvedt. He had a good seasons as Minnesota's starting third baseman, batting .285 with 13 homers and 64 RBIs in 144 games for an OPS+ of 121. However, after that one year, he was traded again, heading to the Los Angeles Angels on November 18th in return for minor league P Alejandro Hidalgo. It was expected that he would provide depth behind oft-injured Anthony Rendon and Jared Walsh at the corner infield positions with flexibility to play second base also. In the first two and a half months of the 2023 season, he batted .299 in 62 games, although his lack of power and walks (2 homers and 10 walks in 214 at-bats) resulted in an OPS+ of just 99, as he basically only hit singles. Defensively, he split his time between third base and first base and was basically an everyday player. However, his season came to a brutal end on June 15th when he fractured his pelvis when he fell awkwardly at first base while attempting to beat out a ground ball out. While de did not need surgery, the recovery time from the injury precluded a return that season.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2019)


Further Reading[edit]

  • Rhett Bollinger: "Angels bulk up infield with trade for Urshela",, November 18, 2022. [1]
  • Thomas Harrigan: "Urshela no longer a surprise -- he's a star",, August 13, 2020. [2]
  • Bryan Hoch: "Urshela's defense like 'slipping into a warm bath'",, March 9, 2020. [3]

Related Sites[edit]