Updated: Dec 16, 2018
Prospect #21: Utility IF, Ramon Urias
Previously Unranked in preseason and ranked 22nd during July reranking
Springfield Cardinals but probably the Memphis Redbirds but really Springfield
Signed as a free agent in 2018
THE QUICK WRITE UP
Ramon Urias is a weird one. When the Cardinals signed him out of the Mexican League this offseason he was coming off of a season in that league that would Mike Trout blush. It's very tough to understand how the Mexican game will translate to major league/minor league success, but Urias had advanced pop and a good approach and most thought that he'd move quickly through the organization just like former Mexican Leaguer Randy Arozarena has.
Urias was supposed to start the season at AA but injuries at the major league level that were back filled by AAA players allowed Urias to start the season at Memphis. He was over-matched there, and he was reassigned to Springfield where he absolutely demolished that league.
Shortly there after, he was sent back to Memphis where he struggled again. Now back in Springfield, Urias is starting to level off. He's still hitting the for power and contact and he is still driving the ball, but the helium that he displayed to start the season has calmed and we are starting to get a better definition of the hitter that he is. As a nice little bonus, we are also starting to understand that the Mexican League is about the equivalent of a league between A+ and AA.
Urias is a poor defensive short stop that profiles best as a 2B or a 3B. He's very athletic and he's super-quick and agile, and I expect that to be the next part of his game to pop off of the pages. Urias is old for the level and he's going to need to show that he can hit Triple-A pitching sooner rather than later, but all of the tools are there for him to make a major league debut in the next two season. I know this: Urias owns the Texas League.
WHY TO GET EXCITED
Urias is seasoned. His time raking in the Mexican League is evident when you watch him. He isn't a typical "minor league" hitter and that gives him a leg up.
Urias has a quick and powerful swing. He seems small and you don't really expect him to generate power, but he does. It's explosive power, too.
A lot of that power is to the opposite field.
While his power is generated by his bat speed, he knows how to shorten his stroke and poke the ball when the time calls for it.
He's made the Texas League his own personal Pinata and he's swing with the blindfold off.
I believe that there is consistent 12-15 home run power because of his bat speed and his ability to barrel balls. It seems like everything that he makes contact with is on the barrel.
He comes from a family of baseball players and his brother, Luis Urias, is a prized prospect in the Padres organization.
He was a team leader in the Mexican League.
WHY TO BE CAUTIOUS
He has struggled mightily while at Memphis. He wasn't ready for the league at the beginning of the year and that wasn't a surprise. What is worrisome, is that he wasn't very good when he was called up to AAA later in the year. And it wasn't just that he wasn't good. He was straight over-matched.
Yes, he's tearing up the Texas League and Double-A pitching, but that is to be expected from a 24-year-old with experience in a professional league. He's doing the raking to an impressive and fun degree, but it's not exactly unexpected.
From what I've seen, Urias is, at best, an OK fielder. I view him as a defensive liability at short stop RIGHT NOW, and he's average at best at both second and third. He has good range but his footwork leaves a lot to be desired and his throwing arm is inconsistent with both accuracy and strength.
His approach is a bit of an enigma. It's hard to understand what he is doing at the plate. He is ultimately aggressive above all else, and I worry that his aggressive nature is why he has struggled at AAA so far.
He's been surprisingly pull-happy at AA. It's a product of his aggressive approach, but it's a little surprising for such an advanced hitters. It's probably why he's struggled at AAA.
Ultimately, I think that Ramon Urias is a lot like Aledmys Diaz. Every time that he swings the bat it's with the same swing, but like Aledmys. He shows signs of being a good fielder, but, realistically, all signs point to him being average, at best. Aledmys is his 20% chance-outcome. If he maxes out, if he reaches down and get's us to his 5% chance-ceiling, then you are going to see something similar to Asdrubal Cabrera.
Thanks to Fangraphs for the statistical contribution.
Thanks For Reading!!