MMs Top 25: #20 3B Jhoan Urena

#20 3B Jhoan Urena (LR#27)
Bats: S Throws: R
Height: 6' 1" Weight: 200 lb
Age: 20
Acquired: 2011 international signing, $450,000 bonus, Santiago, Domincan Republic

2014: (SS-A) .300/.356/.431, 5 HR, 47 RBI, 7 SB (44%), 27 BB, 58 K
2013: (Rk) .299/.351/.376, 0 HR, 20 RBI, 4 SB (80%), 13 BB, 34 K
2012: (DsL) .279/.330/.405, 4 HR, 34 RBI, 12 SB (80%), 20 BB, 46 K

     Under Sandy Alderson's regime, the Mets have been decently efficient finding IFA gems on an annual basis. The 2011 international bonus class was the starting point of this regime's success. While the club's marquee signing, Venezulean C Jose Garcia, and other signings like C Dioni Rodriguez, RHP Luis Carreno, and SS Jose Martinez haven't panned out well, the class still brought us high upside arms in RHP Rafael Montero and RHP Luis Mateo, as well as our new #20 ranked prospect 3B Jhoan Urena.

     Urena has an awkward, long limbed body build which would make you think that he would be better suited for a corner OF spot or 1B, however, he is surprisingly athletic for someone with his body build. He has pretty good reactions at the Hot Corner, helping him achieve a solid first step, and his soft hands usually snag most ground balls hit his way. His also carries a really strong arm, which easily grades out as 60 grade plus tool, and can make the tough long throws from way behind the bag. He does have some fixable mechanical issues that coaches will need to work with him on. He has a tendency of "ole'ing" when attempting backhands and when he is rushed by a speedy runner, Urena has a tendency to get extremely wild with his strong arm.

     While his athletic ability is better than initially expected, his primary prospect building tool continues to be his hitting ability. Urena comes from Sandy Alderson school of "hunting for your pitch." He shows excellent patience at the plate and generally won't fish for pitches outside of the strike zone. When he does see a pitch that he likes, he uses his long arms and plus raw strength to generates excellent bat speed and leverage to attack. While that raw strength has not translated into many home runs, scouts believe that he could develop into a 15-20 HR hitting 3B. Despite his body, Urena also possesses a bit of speed too having produced 80% SB success rates in his 1st 2 seasons. That said, the percentage declined significantly in 2014 indicated that as he continues to mature he is bound to lose some of that sneaky speed. His long limbs also makes it difficult for him to accelerate to top speed.

     Urena certainly looks to have the tools capable to make the MLB as a starting 3B, especially, since the position is one of the weaker ones in the MLB right now. If Urena is able to develop into a 20 HR guy, he would be 1 of only 6 thirdbasemen that were able to produce that kind of power last season. There is significant concern though that Urena's body build and declining speed will force him off of 3B and into RF or worse 1B. While his bat could potentially hold at those positions, his offensive profile would be much more valuable at 3B. Urena is going to have a tough assignment to Savannah in 2015 so he'll need to focus more on cleaning up the last remaining mechanical flaws in his swing rather than trying to translate his raw power into game power.

Ceiling: Fringe MLB Starting 3B (Conor Gillaspie)
Floor: Moves off 3B, becomes a tweener career minor league RF
Anticipated Assignment: (A) Savannah starting 3B.


Thomas Brennan said...

Urena is one of the many guys in the Mets' farm system with potential to be really good, where 2015 will do a whole lot to clarify if they are contenders or pretenders. I really look forward to a strong 2015 showing from Jhoan.

I speculate that his ceiling is a little higher than the one you project, so I slotted him a mere 2 spots higher at #18.

Hobie said...

Urena played every Cyclone game I saw last year (6) and I thought he was pretty fluid at 3B. Didn't see him hit a HR but he put one up into a gale coming in from RF that seemed to stay up for hours before being caught at the warning track. Would have crossed the pond in still air I think.

Anyway, reminded me of Terry Pendleton, which is probably the same as Connor Gillaspie I guess, except switch hitter.

Mack's Mets © 2012