Cleveland Indians Prospect Profile: Giovanny Urshela

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Should the Cleveland Indians find themselves in need of third base help this season, look for top defensive 3B prospect Giovanny Urshela to get the first crack

Giovanny Urshela was one of the most highly regarded prospects in Colombia when the Cleveland Indians signed him back in 2008. He was a well-rounded third basemen with excellent defensive ability and the potential to grow into an above-average hitter.

Feb 26, 2015; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cleveland Indians third baseman Giovanny Urshela (73) poses during photo day at Goodyear Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

After steady progress through the Tribe’€™s farm system, the 23-year-old third baseman looks primed to get his first look in the big leagues this season.

Urshela hit .398 with three home runs and 22 RBIs in winter ball before ending the season on the shelf with a sprained ligament in his knee. He battled through back stiffness this spring before eventually being among the Tribe’€™s first group of roster cuts. The injuries mixed with his short time in big league camp, Urshella didn’€™t see much time with the Tribe, going just 2-for-10 and clubbing one home run.

Still, the lack of consistency from Lonnie Chisenhall could open the door for the Indians’€™ top third base prospect to make his debut at some point this season.

Urshela is far and away the most talented defensive third baseman in the Indians’€™ system so, even while he works to adapt his offensive game plan to the big leagues, he remains a valuable asset at the hot corner. With just five errors in 220 total chances last season, Urshela is as sure-handed as they come at third base.

Offensively, Urshela is a free swinger –€“ though, surprisingly difficult to strike out –€“ and has hit at least .270 in each of his last three seasons in the minor leagues. He batted a combined .280 with 36 doubles, 18 home runs (No. 4 in the Indians’€™ minors) and 84 RBIs (No. 2 in the Indians’€™ minors) during the regular season at Akron and Columbus, and he led the Tribe’s farm system with 78 runs.

Like Jesus Aguilar, Urshela is well-groomed and ready for a big league debut. The only thing keeping him out of the newly renovated Progressive Field is Chisenhall’€™s presence at third base. Should Chisenhall regress or miss time to injury this season, Urshela will get his first look in a big league game.

Either way, Chisenhall should get an extended opportunity this season to make his case as the Tribe’€™s future third baseman. If he can’€™t, expect Urshela to be the guy coming out of the All Star break.

Next: Progressive Field renovations nearing completion

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