Perhaps the biggest move made by the Milwaukee Brewers this offseason was the multi-player swap with the San Diego Padres that brought Luis Urias and Eric Lauer into the fold. Urias has been slated to compete with incumbent Orlando Arcia for the everyday job at shortstop in Spring Training, but that plan may have hit a sudden snag:
Newly-acquired Brewers SS Luis Urías is on his way to the U.S. to have a wrist injury checked out after developing soreness at the end of the winter season in Mexico, David Stearns reports. The Brewers expect some answers by the middle of next week.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) January 25, 2020
Urias, 22, had been rated as one of the game’s top prospects prior to exceeding his rookie eligibility last season. During his first real run of consistent playing time with San Diego, the right-handed hitter posted a modest .223/.329/.326 slash line (81 wRC+) with four homers in 71 games, though his production did improve in September. He’s hit at every level of the minor leagues, with a .308 average across more than 2,400 plate appearances, but enjoyed a breakout year in terms of power last season in Triple-A. Urias smashed 19 home runs in his 339 plate appearances after only 17 total over his first five seasons in the minors, although the hitter-friendly environs of the Pacific Coast League combined with the drag-less, “juiced” baseball surely had something to do with that.
Even if that newfound power doesn’t translate against big league pitching, it won’t take much for Urias to surpass the output that Arcia has provided during recent seasons. The front office and manager Craig Counsell have not been shy about expressing their dissatisfaction with Arcia’s production since he debuted in 2015, benching him multiple times over the years while giving guys like Tyler Saladino, Hernan Perez, and Cory Spangenberg opportunities to seize his job. Depending on which WAR calculation one prefers, Arcia has been graded around replacement level or slightly better across his 479 MLB games. He is the owner of a .243/.292/.360 slash line (68 wRC+) and was the worst qualified hitter in baseball last season by wRC+ (61). Much of Orlando’s value as a prospect came from his potential with the glove, but he has generally graded out only as good-but-not-great on defense.
Here's the word from #Brewers David Stearns: Urias experienced wrist soreness toward end of winter ball and he immediately stopped playing. Team secured visa for Urias and brought him to Milwaukee for evaluation. "We should have more answers by the middle of next week." https://t.co/6h9x8MJGWA— Tom (@Haudricourt) January 25, 2020
We don’t officially know the extent of Urias’ injury, which was suffered while he was playing Winter Ball in his native Mexico, as he’s done previously during his career. Urias posted a .288/.400/.458 slash while launching 5 dingers in 141 plate appearances, although once again, in an extremely hitter-friendly environment played mostly at high elevation. According to reporting out of Mexico dug up by Jim Goulart of Brewerfan.net, the Brewers pulled him out of postseason play after the injury and that surgery is something that is could be on the table. Urias hasn’t played since January 6th.
Again, the actual extent of Urias’ malady won’t be known until something is announced by the club. But if he were to miss an extended period of time, the club has Arcia as well as Eric Sogard to turn to as options to receive regular at-bats at short. Sogard is currently set to platoon with Jedd Gyorko at the hot corner, but the Brewers have Ryon Healy in addition to Gyorko as veteran players capable of manning third base. Ronny Rodriguez and Mark Mathias also exist on the 40-man as a depth all over the infield.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference