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Better know your Blue Jays 40-man: Richard Urena

Toronto Blue Jays Photo Day Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Richard Urena has been in the Blue Jays organization since July of 2012, when he was signed as a international free agent. This is about all we knew about him:

Dominican shortstop Richard Urena has signed with the Blue Jays, writes Ben Badler of Baseball America. The 16-year-old is ranked as the No. 13 international prospect by Baseball America and projects to stick at shortstop.

About the same time we signed Franklin Barreto, who was part of the trade that brought us Josh Donaldson.

He’s been on our Top Prospect lists for years:

2013: 31st

2014: 28th

2015: 12th

2016: 3rd

2017: 4th

2018: 12th

For a while there, he was our shortstop of the future, but it looks like Bo Bichette has passed him by. It seems like he’s been on our radar forever, but he’s still just 21.

Back in November of 2016 the Jays added him to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. And he got a September callup last year, and hit .206/.270/.309 in 21 games.

Richard didn’t have a great 2017 season, he hit .247/.286/.359 in 129 games at New Hampshire.

He’s started this season off on the DL and he’s been assigned to Dunedin, likely to rehab and get work in, since the Bison’s season has been rather hit and miss, with weather causing many cancellations.

To me, his defense seems fine. He seems smooth, good arm and good range. The problem is that he’s been inconsistent with the bat and the power we were expecting hasn’t shown up.

It’s a big year for Urena, he’s been passed by Bichette, on the prospect rankings. And now Lourdes Gurriel got the call when we needed a middle infielder.

I don’t see an easy path to the majors for Urena. If there was an injury soon, the team has Danny Espinosa who, I’d assume, has an out if he’s not called up to the team by a certain date. He would be the next choice if an another infielder is needed.

And sometime this season Troy Tulowitzki might be back, which would move Aledmys Diaz into a utility role, cutting down on the possibility that Urena could find a spot. And, by the end of the season Bo Bichette will be up at Buffalo trying to force his way to Toronto. Behind him we have Logan Warmoth.

Urena is just 21, so he has time, but I get the feeling that without a good season, he won’t be on our 40-man next year.


Will we see Urena with the Jays this year?

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