When the Brewers traded for Luis Urias back in November of 2019, many fans thought the club had secured their shortstop of the future. After Urias failed to lock down the starting shortstop position earlier in the season, the Brewers pivoted and traded for Willy Adames, who has quickly become one of the franchise’s cornerstone pieces.
Fast forward to present day and Luis Urias has turned things around in a big way. As it stands, Luis Urias leads the team in runs, is 2nd on the club in hits, 3rd in doubles, 3rd in home runs, 2nd in RBI, 2nd in walks, and 5th in OPS. Simply put, he’s become a reliable member of the Brewers offense.
Luis Urias is an ascending player under Brewers team control through 2025. However, Urias is currently blocked all the way around the diamond. So what does that mean for young infielder?
As it stands, Milwaukee has Willy Adames under team control through 2024 and Kolten Wong is under contract for at least one more season – including a club option in 2023. Current Brewers third baseman, Eduardo Escobar is going to be a free agent this offseason, which could offer up a potential solution.
The Brewers philosophy gives them options
As we all know, David Stearns may be less fixated on what position you play than just about any other decision maker in all of baseball. His core philosophy is to get the best nine players out on the field and worry about where they play later. This philosophy puts Milwaukee in an advantageous spot heading into the offseason.
The club could enter next season with a Wong/Adames pairing in the middle infield, plus Urias at the hot corner and be perfectly equipped to make another run at the playoffs. But as we know, David Stearns is never married to one plan. Working within the constraints of a limited budget on an uneven playing field, David Stearns has proved time and time again that he’ll pivot to where the value falls and worry about where they fit with the team later.
This is most recently evidenced by this last offseason’s signings of Kolten Wong and Jackie Bradley Jr. David Stearns admitted he never thought a scenario would arise where both players would be available to the team in a price range he thought would be realistic for Milwaukee. The market broke a different way than expected, so David Stearns followed the value and provided his pitching staff (the identity of the team) two elite defenders up the middle. There are many ways to improve your ball club if you’re willing to adapt and get creative.
So, Milwaukee can enter the offseason with Luis Urias penciled in as the everyday third basemen in 2022. But as we know, the front office rarely puts anyone in sharpie. If a third baseman came available either on the market or via trade, I have no doubt the Brewers would pursue that upgrade if they felt it made the team better – as well they should.
Luis Urias simply provides coverage at the position if that scenario doesn’t present itself, returning Urias to a super utility infield role.
Urias has shown versatility and proved to be a real asset as a utility infielder this season. Urias has played all over the infield in 2021, helping the club in any way that’s been asked of him. He’s logged 58 games at third base, 47 at shortstop, and 22 at second base. That kind of versatility cannot be understated.
However, it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows defensively. Urias has registered below league average fielding percentage at all three positions. This is what I feel will be the main deterrent from naming Urias the club’s third baseman moving forward. I feel as though Urias best defensive position long-term is going to be second base, where he’s currently blocked.
When Kolten Wong’s club option comes due in 2023 the Brewers will have a tough decision to make. They’ll have to see where Wong is at that point and could bring him back or let him go and put Luis Urias as the long-term second basemen – where I think he’s best suited.
So in the short term I feel Urias’ greatest contribution to the club will come as a utility infielder covering all over the infield and receives no less than 3-4 starts a week. He’s proven to be a starting caliber player in the MLB who needs at bats to continue his development. Having an ascending talent like Luis Urias in a utility role would be a luxury for a team like the Brewers.
Luis Urias impressive approach and improving power are worth getting into the lineup on a regular basis. His development shouldn’t be hindered by playing multiple positions, just lack of at bats. I don’t feel as though his future will come at third base though, but rather at second base when the team feels comfortable giving him the keys to the position.
Urias’ emergence offensively gives Milwaukee options and should have the Brewers feeling comfortable in the offseason and beyond.