2. SS Luis Urias
Still just 23 years old, shortstop Luis Urias already has 124 games over three seasons with the Brewers and San Diego Padres to his name with, so far, below average results. So is this the year where he finally takes that big step forward?
It certainly feels like he has the talent to do so. Urias, a former top prospect of the Padres, has mashed in his minor league career with a .308 average, .830 OPS, and 363 runs scored over 540 games played across all levels.
That hasn’t yet translated to success in the majors yet, though, as he owns a .226 average and .635 OPS for his career so far in The Show.
Last season was supposed to be Urias’ first chance at showing he belonged in the majors. But a hamate bone injury in spring training delayed his transition to the team and a positive Covid test going into Summer Camp postponed it even further.
Despite all that, Urias had a decent debut for the Brewers in 2020, hitting .286 with a .712 OPS through his first 25 games with the team. However, that was followed by a streak of games where he went 2 for his next 25 with 10 strikeouts to finish out the season.
Luis Urias needed to have a big spring for the Brewers to show he could still have a breakout year at shortstop, and that’s exactly what happened.
A hamstring issue this spring had fans briefly seeing deja vu, but Urias went on a tear upon his return, finishing Cactus League play with a .314 average and a .971 OPS with five doubles and a homer in 14 games.
Urias’ play has earned him the starting shortstop gig as the long-term Brewers fixture at the position, Orlando Arcia, has been splitting time between short and third and also hasn’t performed nearly as well this spring (.191 average, .517 OPS).
Having been Milwaukee’s main target in a trade that previous offseason which sent away outfielder Trent Grisham and pitcher Zach Davies, who both went on to have solid seasons with the Padres in 2020, and also brought back Eric Lauer, who did not, it had fans lamenting the early returns of the transaction.
But Urias has the skill to step up and be a big contributor for the Brewers, he just hasn’t put it all together quite yet. With increased playing time, 2021 could be the season where he officially breaks out and makes that trade look a lot better to the fans.