When the Yankees traded for Gio Urshela in the summer of 2018, it barely made a ripple. Acquired as minor-league depth, Urshela never played for the Yankees that season, but re-signed with the organization on a minor-league deal after a productive two months at Scranton. Not a part of the 40-man roster and a primary third baseman who had a Rookie of the Year finalist ahead of him on the depth chart, it looked like Urshela would just be the fail safe in case of emergency in 2019.
Although that’s how Urshela’s season began, that’s not what it ended up becoming. Urshela was first recalled after Miguel Andujar suffered a major shoulder injury, and he never went back down. He first made an impact with stellar defense, but grew into his own as a hitter, and is now perched as the Yankees’ undisputed starter at third base in 2020.
2019 Statistics: 132 games, 476 plate appearances, .314/.355/.534, 21 HR, 73 RBI, 74 runs, 132 wRC+, 3.1 fWAR
2020 Contract Status: Pre-Arbitration, under team control until 2024
Urshela’s immediate impact was most noticeable on defense. The Yankees haven’t had an elite defensive third basemen in years, and Urshela more than fit the…