Brewers: Was The Luis Urias Trade As Lopsided As We Think?

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MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 12: Luis Urias #2 of the Milwaukee Brewers gets a base hit during the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Miller Park on August 12, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 12: Luis Urias #2 of the Milwaukee Brewers gets a base hit during the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Miller Park on August 12, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Not all trades are created equal, for every Christian Yelich trade, there is the Trent Grisham trade, which seemingly was admitted to be a bust by the Front Office when the Brewers traded for Willy Adames. But, what if the Trent Grisham – Luis Urias trade wasn’t as bad as we all remember?

I personally was very excited when the Brewers acquired Luis Urias and Eric Lauer in exchange for Trent Grisham and Zach Davies. It seemed like a deal that benefited both teams, and gave two prospects the opportunity to flourish. Grisham definitely has flourished, becoming a star in San Diego after winning a Gold Glove in Center Field.

After losing the starting shortstop job, it appeared that the Urias-Grisham trade was a bust. While the Padres may have gotten the better deal, Luis Urias has put started to show the potential the Brewers saw when they traded for him.

Last season was a wash for Urias, battling COVID and a broken hamate. This season he won and then lost the starting shortstop job before finding seemingly-regular playing time as Travis Shaw recovers from his dislocated shoulder.

Since losing the starting shortstop role on May 22nd, Urias has slashed .266/.363/.494, with a wRC+ of 136, which has pushed his season wRC+ over the league average of 100. Urias has already put up a career-high eight home runs on the season, and has adapted well to his changing role.

Going into action on June 21st, Urias has a wRC+ of 110, 10% above league average. His OPS of .762 gives him an OPS+ of 109. His batting average is still low at .237, but his OBP is .342, and his slugging percent is .420. However, in the month since the Adames trade occurred, Urias is slashing .278/.375/.500. His wRC+ over that time frame is 141.

Urias’ BABIP has gone up as well. For the season it is .287, from April 1 until May 20th, it was .250. Since May 21st, his BABIP is .333. BABIP typically hovers around the .300, indicating Urias was unlucky for the first two months of the year, and has been lucky in the last month. Things should even out for Urias eventually.

When looking at how Urias ranks among the different positions, he has the 10th best wRC+ among qualified shortstops (3.1 PA/Game), what would be the 12th best wRC+ among qualified third basemen, and would be tied for 11th among qualified second basemen.

When looking at his 141 wRC+ since  May 21st, Urias ranks 2nd among third basemen, 4th among shortstops, and 9th among second basemen. One month into the Adames Era and it appears that trade has not only benefited Adames, but Urias as well. His wRC+ is 31st in all of baseball since that date.

Grisham has battled injuries this season, making two separate trips to the IL for a hamstring, and for a heel bruise. Despite that, Grisham is slashing .269/.346/.485 with a wRC+ of 130 on the season.

There are lots of domino effects as a result of that trade. If the Brewers had kept Grisham, it seems unlikely they would have both Avisail Garcia and Jackie Bradley Jr in the fold. Cain may have moved to right field, as Grisham took over everyday in center.

At the time of the trade both the Brewers and Padres were dealing from positions of strength. In the long run, it is still likely that the Padres won the trade, getting a Gold Glove outfielder in exchange for consistent starting infielder, but with his strong performance in the first half of 2021, Luis Urias is showing it may not have been as one-sided as we feared.

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They can still salvage some value from this trade, and it’s largely dependent on the type of role Urias can carve out for himself for the future.

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