Gurriel to Make His MLB Debut

download-5_origWith Yulieski Gourriel  (Gurreil) finally making his MLB debut for the Astros we thought we would repost what we wrote about him earlier this year.

Original posting from earlier this year. 

Over the weekend Cuban superstar Yulieski Gourriel  (Gurriel) signed with the Houston Astros. This 32 year old infielder has had Twitter buzzing for a few weeks now as he worked out for multiple major league teams. We ask the question, who is Yulieski Gourriel?

Yulieski Gurriel is from Sancti Spiritus, Cuba. Gurriel, which sometimes is spelled Gurriel for some reason, is 6’0, 196 lbs, bats and throws right and can play second or third base. He has played professionally since he was 17 or since 2001. Over that time he has played in 925 games, 5,491 plate appearances, 974 runs, 1585 hits, 250 home runs, 1,018 RBIs, 121 stolen bases, 611 walks and a career slash line of .335/.417/.580. For reference purposes we can compare his slash line to Chicago White Sox player Jose Abreu while in Cuba, .341/.456/.622.

Now that Gurriel is signed he will likely report to either Triple-A or Double-A for Houston and spend around a month before we see him in the big leagues. With Altuve already cemented in as the every day second baseman for the Astros it is anticipated that Gurriel will play third base when he arrives in the big leagues. Expectations will be high as he is the biggest Cuban born star to come to the majors in years, but temper your enthusiasm as it’s important to recognize that he is 32 years old and has had a layoff from facing competitive pitching. With that being said, he is a great late season speculative add in just about any fantasy league and could payoff big time if he lives up to the hype

Need to Replace Stanton, How About Haniger?

If you images_5_orighaven’t heard the name Mitch Haniger, you may not be alone. Haniger is a 25-year-old prospect who made his MLB debut last week for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He didn’t get much in the way of hype in the minor leagues this season and when he received his promotion on August 16th there wasn’t much in the way of fanfare. With all that being said it may be a good idea to put Haniger on your radar.

Mitch Haniger is an outfielder who was drafted in the first round, pick 38, of the 2012 draft out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo by the Milwaukee Brewers. Haniger played in Milwaukee’s minor league system until part way through 2014 when he was traded to Arizona. In his two plus years as a Brewers farm hand he didn’t do anything all that impressive. His average was in the mid .200s, he had one season between Low-A and High-A that he hit 15 home runs and stole 10 bases, but again not any eye popping numbers. In 2015, his first full season in the Diamondbacks minor league system something changed however. That year he had a .310/.368/.515 slash line, hit 13 home runs in 104 games and stole 12 bases between High-A and Double-A.

As a minor leaguer in 2016 Haniger spent time at both Double-A and Triple-A before being called up. During that time, he played in 119 games, had an even better slash line of .325/.423/.588 with 24 home runs, 10 stolen bases and 86 RBIs. Some may point out that he was a little old for the levels he was playing at, but I choose to look at the glass half-full. Haniger may have just needed a little more time to grow in to his skill set, remember he was the 38th pick in 2012 and not a late rounder.

In Haniger’s six games since being called up he has a .304/.385/.478 slash line with three walks and eight strikeouts. Yes, it is a small sample size, but the fact that he is maintaining his batting average success and putting the ball in play 58% of the time is a good sign. His home run power hasn’t yet made an appearance, but he has had two doubles and a triple in those six games.

Haniger is not the guy you run out and get on your fantasy roster while dropping a usable player, but if you were the Giancarlo Stanton, Shin-Soo Choo, or Matt Holliday owner then you may still be looking for a bat to plug in to your outfield. If Keon Broxton, our favorite widely available outfielder isn’t available in your league, then Haniger may be a good speculative add. As of right now he is available in 90% of CBSSports.com leagues.