Since signing with the Mets out of the Dominican Republic in 2011, Jhoan Urena has played a grand total of 477 games in the field defensively. A total of 410 of those have come at third base and another 56 were at first. Up until the 2017 season, he'd only seen time at the infield corners.
The Mets started introducing him to the outfield corners this year and the 23-year-old saw 10 games in left and one in right as an introduction. That is continuing for the Mets' No. 15 prospect during instructional league play in St. Lucie this fall.
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"It's an experiment for now," Mets farm director Ian Levin said. "For now, it's to evaluate and see how he looks out there, see if it's a fit."
It certainly looks like his bat will fit somewhere in the future as the switch-hitter finally got back to producing like he did during his stint in the short-season New York-Penn League in 2014. His 2015 was derailed by a pair of broken hamates and while he was mostly healthy in 2016, he never got in any kind of rhythm. This year, however, he finally conquered the Florida State League in his third go-round and got a late double-jump up to Triple-A as a result. His final numbers, .277/.358/.440 with 14 homers, 70 RBIs and 18 steals, were by far the best of his career.
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That's part of the reason for the longer look in the outfield. Positional flexibility certainly makes a player more valuable, but in addition to that, it gives the organization more than one avenue to get that bat into the lineup when he's ready.
"We certainly won't get a final answer in three weeks of instructs, but it will inform us," Levin said. "We think he's capable of it. He's certainly athletic enough, but we'll see how the speed works out there and see how he deals with reads."
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.