NEW YORK -- For teams in the postseason chase, September is geared toward solidifying a spot in October. For the rest of the clubs like Toronto, the month serves as a time to get a peek into the future and evaluate September callups.As the Blue Jays go into rebuilding mode,
NEW YORK -- For teams in the postseason chase, September is geared toward solidifying a spot in October. For the rest of the clubs like Toronto, the month serves as a time to get a peek into the future and evaluate September callups.
As the Blue Jays go into rebuilding mode, one player that has stood out to manager John Gibbons has been Richard Urena, the organization's No. 22 prospect per MLB Pipeline.
"He might be a sleeper," Gibbons said.
The 22-year-old infielder first got promoted to the big leagues last September, when he hit .206 with one homer and four RBIs in 68 at-bats. In 2018, Urena saw spotty playing time throughout May and August before ultimately receiving the call at the beginning of September for the second consecutive year.
"He's still 22; you forget that sometimes because it seems like he's been around here a while," Gibbons said. "I think he's been very productive in the role he's played this year for us, which isn't easy for a kid that age. [Once he becomes a regular up here], I think his game will just explode because he can do so many things."
Through his first 27 games of 2018, Urena slashed .263/.311/.386 with four doubles, one homer and five RBIs.
"He's a switch-hitter, definitely stronger from the left side," Gibbons said. "He can do a lot of things. He runs good enough, has got a good arm. … You forget how young he really is."
Making the transition from the Minors to the Majors can be a little overwhelming for some players, however, Gibbons said that there is no issue with Urena's confidence even if he might be one of the quieter guys in the clubhouse.
"He doesn't have a whole lot of flash to him. He's a quiet kid. He goes about his business," Gibbons said. "I mean, he's got a quiet confidence about him. You wouldn't even know he's there unless you bumped into him."
Although Saturday's start against the Yankees marked just Urena's 33rd in his 49 career games, Gibbons believes the rookie has the potential to become an everyday big leaguer in the future.
"I do. I don't know what anybody else says, but I do," Gibbons said. "Watch him, you know. He still has things to work on, we all do. … To be honest, I don't know about anybody else, but I think he just needs an opportunity."
Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.