Name: John Urick
DOB: February 22, 1982
Height: 6' 3"
The Yankees selected John Urick out of Oklahoma State University in the 22nd round of the 2003 draft. After spending his professional debut season with Staten Island last year, John was sent to Battle Creek in 2004 where he posted solid numbers.
He's made some very good friends in the organization and has grown closest to another ballplayer with tremendous baseball genes. Enrique Cruz, the son of Jose Cruz and brother of Jose Cruz Jr., and John have become great friends and Enrique was present at John's wedding early in October. John married his college sweetheart, Maggie, on October 2nd of this year.
Aside from his grandfather on his mother's side being Whitey Herzog, John is surrounded by athletes in his family. His father was a basketball player growing up, playing college basketball as did John's wife Maggie. John is still a huge fan of the game, following the Major Leagues just as close as he can.
After a disappointing 2003 season in Staten Island, John Urick had a fantastic season as the first baseman for the Battle Creek Yankees in 2004. He is another newcomer to this list as he was probably the most consistent offensive performer for Battle Creek all season. The 22 year old also played a solid first base but may be in for a position battle next year in Tampa with Erold Andrus. It should be interesting to see what they do to get Urick the necessary playing time. He will begin the season as a 23 year old, and maybe, just maybe, they will give him a shot in AA Trenton rather than compete with a younger Andrus in High A. Either way, here is a guy that had perhaps the best year that no one even notices. He sustained one prolonged slump mid-season, but still managed to have a very fine sophomore campaign. Urick led the Battle Creek Yankees with 15 home runs and became one of their primary run producers as he racked up 65 RBI in 396 at bats. It is very impressive considering the rough 2003 campaign he endured. Not too many people realize, unless they followed the team everyday, just how valuable Urick was to the 2004 Battle Creek Yankees.
John Urick Self-Scouting Report:
Batting and Power. Urick: "Strongest part of my game? Probably my patience at the plate and my approach to hitting in general. I have a pretty good idea at the plate and how to get my pitch to hit." "I guess I'd [compare myself to] John Olerud. We're both tall, lanky guys that can hit for power and average. Olerud makes everything look so effortless in his swing and I've been told that I'm that way at the plate. I feel like I can be that type of player in the Major Leagues. I think I have proven to myself and to the organization that I can eventually make that leap." Overall, Urick does look to be an Olerud type with his sweet swing and established patience at the plate. The only thing he may want to cut down are his strikeouts. But, with his work ethic, that should improve with maturity and experience.
Base running and Speed. Urick: "I am trying to improve my agility and quickness to help me at first base and on the base paths. Of course I am looking to get stronger but I am concentrating on running more. I am not too worried about being very big, I just want to get stronger and quicker." The organization is not going to be too worried about the speed of a power hitting corner infielder with a good glove. So, his combined 3 stolen bases over two professional seasons are not something to be concerned about.
Defense. Urick: "I'm good in the field but I'd say I have a ways to go defensively. That's the part I need to work on the hardest." Urick committed 13 errors in 2004, but appears to have very solid defensive skills. He is an infielder's best friend as a result of his ability to scoop errant throws out of the dirt.
Projection. Right now, things have gotten a little more difficult for John Urick to move up the ladder. Despite a good 2004 season, the Yankees have plans to move fellow prospect, Erold Andrus over to first base in 2005. Andrus is more highly regarded than Urick so it makes things more difficult for the soon to be 23 year old. Perhaps, he will bypass Tampa and move to AA Trenton. Urick has the look of a big league hitter so the Yankees are going to have to make room for him.
ETA. Late 2006. It is a quite possible that John Urick could start the 2005 season in High A Tampa while Andrus is easing his way into full time first base duties. Also, he could do some "DHing" as well. With a strong start there, he could quickly be moved up to AA Trenton. Then, the 2006 could have a 24 year old Urick in AAA Columbus with a possible late season callup to the show.