Toronto Blue Jays Top Prospects #11: Richard Urena
Making his major league debut in 2017, Richard Urena quickly became part of the infield discussion for the not-so-distant future and now lands 11th on our list of the top 30 Toronto Blue Jay prospects.
After spending the entirety of his 2017 up to August 31st with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Richard Urena became one of a few Blue Jay September call-ups. The 21-year-old middle infielder struggled in his short time at the major league level, but his performance does little to lower his stock in Toronto’s system.
Name: Richard Urena
Position: SS/2B Age: 21
Height: 6’4″ Weight: 220 lbs
Throws: Right Bats: Switch
Acquired: International Signing
Urena hit .206 in 21 games, but perhaps the most concerning part of his game was the strikeouts; he struck out 28 times in 75 at-bats, walking just six times. He had hit .324 with an on-base percentage of .395 in his first nine games, but his play quickly deteriorated.
It’s a ratio that’s on-par with his statistics from double-A New Hampshire in 2017 when he hit .247 with an on-base percentage of .286. He walked 30 times and struck out 100 times.
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Still, with his strong range and plus bat, scouts are high on Urena. He was ranked ninth in Baseball America’s organizational rankings in December of 2017, and Jonathan Mayo of MLB Pipeline ranked Urena 94th in all of baseball in his pre-2017 rankings.
The Blue Jays originally signed Urena as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2012. He slowly worked his way up, starting with the Gulf League Blue Jays and, eventually, the Dunedin Blue Jays in 2015. By 2016, he had played in 30 games for the Fisher Cats.
On August 10th, 2016, exactly a week after Urena was promoted to New Hampshire, he hit three triples in a single game, setting a Fisher Cats record.
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Urena’s electrifying first games at the major league level largely proved disappointing after a dramatic drop-off, but his initial competition can give the Blue Jays hope on his development. In 2018, Urena should start the season with the triple-A Buffalo Bisons and may not see much time in the majors due to the crowded infield, but his advancements in 2017 may prove key to his future as a Blue Jay.
Top-30 Blue Jays Prospect Rankings:
#30: OF Jonathan Davis #29: OF Harold Ramirez #28: OF Joshua Palacios
#27: 1B/OF Ryan Noda #26: SS Kevin Smith #25: OF Roemon Fields
#24: P Angel Perdomo #23: C Reese McGuire #22: OF Dwight Smith Jr.
#21: P Jordan Romano #20: P Jon Harris #19: P Tim Mayza
#18: C Riley Adams #17: P Thomas Pannone #16: P Justin Maese
#15: C Hagen Danner #14: C Max Pentecost #13: 1B Rowdy Tellez
#12: P Eric Pardinho