The winter after the 2018 season, the Yankees didn’t make a move for Manny Machado. We didn’t know it at the time, but there was a prize starting pitcher they had their sights on, as well as the fact that they thought they had their third baseman of the future. The thing is, the Yankees had the wrong guy in mind. Neither the Yankees nor Gio Urshela himself could have imagined the hot corner would belong to him the way it has. Who knew things would turn out the way they did for a depth piece added for cash considerations to the Blue Jays.
Gio Urshela has become the Yankee version of Justin Turner and Max Muncy. Here are these guys who were castoffs from their former teams that have gone on to put up the type of superstar numbers you expect from guys who make $300 million for 10 years. The difference is – and it is to the chagrin of the depth pieces turned household names – they come dirt cheap.
The estimated value for Gio Urshela in 2019 according to Fangraphs was $24.9 million. So far in these few short games Gio’s estimated price has been valued at $5 million. That number will only rise as the season goes on. What he’s actually making this year though is only $2 million. To call him and Luke Voit the heist of the century is an understatement because the guys like them, your Machados and Paul Goldschmidts, are multi-millionaires.
2020 has been bad for a lot of people. Professionally, for Gio Urshela, it has been a hell of a year. The debate of whether he’s for real were quickly quelled by the time the Red Sox came to the Bronx for the first time.
His standard numbers as well as his peripherals check out. He’s hitting:
It looks like Gio will be keeping this pace up too. His expected stats on Baseball Savant are all superstar caliber. If anything, his actual stats don’t tell the real story of how well Urshela is doing:
On top of this his 92.3 AVG Exit Velo and 51.2% Hard Hit% puts him in the top 10% of the league in each of these categories respectively.
These are all pretty remarkable but we know how the internet works. They will come for his head in any way possible and pick out the one thing that the numbers say he does poorly and make that about the conversation. For right now, the way they’ll do that is by saying that Urshela has -3 defensive runs saved at third. They said the same about him last year even though Statcast’s Outs Above Average contradicted Fangraphs. In 2019 while the Twitter peasants said his defense was “overrated”, he was in the top 29% in OAA in the league.
If you’re a bad person you can point out his defensive metrics on Fangraphs. If you’re a good person, you can go to Baseball Savant. Really, in all of this, the choice is yours.
Despite the noise, one thing is certain. Gio Ursehla is a damn superstar and it’s a good thing the Yankees never inked Machado to that massive deal. This is one of the better moves by the organization.