Being in the zone has been characterized in a multitude of ways. Having no worries. Being in complete control. In sports, it has been associated with hot streaks. Even the analytics community knows that they are a thing but, unfortunately, many try to use the small sample sizes of hot streaks in order to predict the future. As a result, hot streaks and being in the zone have been tainted somewhat. I used to play volleyball competitively and there were numerous times when the action would slow down and I’d know where to go before it happened. In hoops, there were times when I would just throw up junk (Heat Check!!!) and voila….buckets. In most games I’ve played, especially video games, there have been times when I’ve been at one with the game ala Neo in the Matrix. That is what Ramon Urias of the Baltimore Orioles has been doing over the past month: .397/.426/.707 slash with five home runs and a .310 ISO! Over the last 30 days, he’s number 29 on the Razzball Player Rater. I traded for him in 30-teamer at the end of June and I didn’t realize the extent of his recent heater. Back in early June, Laura recommended Urias. He was a meh player back then with multi-eligibility, but now? He’s In the Ramon. Can it last? Let’s dig in.
Urias is 28 years old, 6’0″, 190 pounds, and bats from the right side. He’s eligible at second base, third base, and shortstop. Urias signed with the Texas Rangers back in 2010 as an international free agent. He was loaned to the Mexican League from 2013 to 2017. In 2018, he signed a minor league contract with the St. Louis Cardinals and then claimed off waivers in 2020 by the Baltimore Orioles.
Throughout his minor league career, the strikeout rate was in the 20% range while the walk rate was single digits. In 2019 with the Cardinals Triple-A team, Urias hit nine home runs and stole four bases in 375 plate appearances. The walk rate was 11.7% while the strikeout rate was 18.9%. The ISO was .161 with a .263/.369/.424 slash.
Urias finally made it to the majors last season with the Orioles. In 296 plate appearances, the slash was .279/.361/.412 with a .134 ISO, 9.5% walk rate, and 25.7% strikeout rate. So far this season, the slash is .268/.310/.468 with a .199 ISO, 5.6% walk rate, and 22.1% strikeout rate. He has 11 home runs in 249 plate appearances.
He got off to a horrendous start, as the batting average was sub-.200 in April with a .030 ISO. Then things picked up in May, as he hit .261 with a .216 ISO and four home runs. He missed most of June due to an injury, which brings us to the current heater in July. Urias has an 11.5% strikeout rate with a .391 BABIP. Those are both going to regress. He’s a 20% strikeout guy and a .300 BABIP hitter.
Let’s dig more into his profile.
Urias hits a lot of ground balls. 46.1% to be exact. If he qualified, that would place him in the top 50. The fly ball rate is 31.5% while the pull percentage is 42.5%. The swinging strike rate is 11.8% while the chase rate is 33.8%. Contact rate in the zone is 82.7% while it is 76.8% in general.
These are meh numbers but…
That ain’t so bad. There isn’t too much speed and the walks have declined, but chicks don’t dig walks. They want the long ball!
The barrel rate is at 10.1%, which is 81st in all of MLB. The launch angle is at a career-high 11.3 degrees while the hard hit rate of 48 is 29th!
Urias isn’t sexy and is In The Ramon. What he’s doing in July is unsustainable but regression shouldn’t be too severe as he will likely settle into the .270 range with a 23% strikeout rate and .160 ISO. He usually bats sixth or seventh in the batting order so that’s not great but the multi-positional eligibility while not being a complete dud in the power department has utility for many teams. As long as you keep expectations in check, you will be happy with Ramon.