As we begin our 2024 player rankings, we have covered 2 relievers in Taylor Saucedo and Justin Topa, as well as a strong bounce-back candidate in Ty France. We also covered what many expect to be the starting second baseman in Josh Rojas. Could we have overlooked the other half of what many of us expect to be a platoon at second base? I think so.
The Mariners acquired Luis Urias in a move that many questioned at the time, but the cost of a middle to back-end reliever isn't that expensive. Urias held back to back 2+ win seasons and gives the Mariners another solid utility infielder and one that offers more of the Dipoto type of Control the Zone player.
Luis Urias was a solid infielder in 2021 and 2022, spending time at third base, shortstop, and second base. He was worth 2.1 wins in 2021, putting up a 112 wRC+ as well as 2.3 wins in 2022 with a 110 wRC+, but regressed in 2023 being worth -.1 wins according to fWAR. A lot of that had to do with injuries as he only played in 52 games.
Urias is only 27 years old, so he is really entering his prime and there is no reason to think that he can't get back to the 2021 and 2022 seasons. His 2023 season was just so bad because of the injuries. I truly think that it was more of the outlier, as the 2021 and 2022 seasons were the only 2 full-time years he had played before 2023.
I hope that Urias isn't expected to be the everyday third baseman, yet I think he could play his way into the top 15 players for this team in 2024. Urias draws walks at a very solid rate, 10.5% career walk rate, and really limits the strikeouts with a 21.6% career strikeout rate. I think the best way to utilize Urias is as a platoon player with Josh Rojas while also serving as sort of a super utility player moving around the infield. I think Urias could play his way into 450-500 plate appearances and if he can replicate the 2021 and 2022 numbers, he could play his way into an everyday role.
I'm calling it now! I think Urias is a 2-win player in 2024. We could be looking at a top 12 player for the Mariners after 2024 is said and done.