The 2022 Major League Baseball Season has really been a tale of two stretches for Baltimore Orioles infielder Ramón Urías. While the majority of his time has been spent at third base, he carries second base eligibility for fantasy baseball lineups and that added positional flexibility is always welcomed by fantasy baseball managers. An oblique injury sidelined Urias on the MLB injury report for a couple of weeks, but he’s been one of the better fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups in the month of July. The Orioles are playing some good baseball right now and Urias should be rising up fantasy baseball rankings and rest-of-season MLB projections. Let’s take a deeper dive into his hot stretch of late and see if Urias can be a fantasy baseball breakout player the rest of the way. Here's the latest in our Fantasy Baseball Player Spotlight series.



Ramón Urías Fantasy Baseball Player Spotlight



Again, it’s really been night and day for Urias. Through his first 188 plate appearances of the season, he was hitting just .225 with a .287 wOBA alongside six home runs and 18 RBI. From a batted ball perspective, the hard contact was there – coming in at 50.8% – and his other Statcast metrics were solid. However, a .273 BABIP and a 25.5% strikeout rate won’t do you any favors. Since returning from his oblique injury, though, Urias is hitting .385 with a .462 wOBA. He has similar batted ball metrics in the Statcast department, perhaps even slightly down, but a minuscule 7.1% strikeout rate and vastly improved .364 BABIP have played a large part in this turnaround.

Simply put, this chart is a thing of beauty:

Given that he has a career strikeout rate of 24.1% in the majors and hovered around the upper-teens throughout his minor league career, I don’t expect his current rate in July to hold. Still, any improvement there will be welcomed by the Orioles and fantasy baseball managers alike. Contact is up, but the biggest improvements by far have been the diminished swinging strike rate and chase rate. Urias is staying in the zone and making ample contact. When he has left the zone, fortunately, he’s made more contact as well. Staying in the strike zone is the biggest player in his decreased strikeout rate, though.

The improvements here are remarkable. The less Urias leaves the zone, the more pitches will have to come into the zone. It’s simple. It’s not rocket science!

His batted ball metrics have remained solid and he has a 79th percentile average exit velocity, 93rd percentile hard-hit rate, and 76th percentile xBA. I don’t want to nitpick with Urias, but I will with this point. His expected statistics and average exit velocities are impressive against non-fastballs this year, and he actually has more extra-base hits against non-fastballs (13) than he does fastballs (8). Ideally, we’d like to see him hit fastballs with a higher exit velocity because if he’s going to continue to do a great job staying in the zone, he’ll see more fastballs. For the year, he’s hitting .255 against fastballs, but his expected statistics against the heater lag behind his marks against breaking pitches and offspeed stuff.

From a fantasy perspective, Urias’ improvements have definitely helped but he’s not going to be a league-winner. He’ll hit for a mediocre batting average (think around .250-.260), and provide a little bit of pop. However, he’s not going to run and his counting stats won’t end up being all that impressive if Baltimore goes cold again. Urias is on a good run right now and while there will likely be some regression, if he can keep the strikeout rate down, that will offset some of the potential regression he’ll encounter.

If Urias is available in your league, you need to go pick him up immediately – unless you’re in a super shallow setup. He has four multi-hit games in his last six contests and he’s seeing the ball well at the moment. Be careful over investing in Urias because, as I mentioned, he isn’t going to be a league-winner with his mediocre average and average to slightly above average pop. The hard contact is incredibly appealing, as is his multi-positional eligibility. Still, if the strikeouts return, it’s going to be a steep fall from grace.

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