The off-season is hardly underway and the World Series runners-up have already made a move. The Los Angeles Dodgers have sent pitcher Manny Banuelos to the Chicago White Sox for corner infielder Justin Yurchak.
The 22-year old Yurchak is no stranger to moving around, as he transferred from Wake Forest to SUNY-Binghamton after his freshman year. He had to redshirt in 2016, and was then a draft eligible sophomore in 2017 where he showed an excellent eye at the plate and solid pitch recognition.
He was drafted in the 12th round of the 2017 draft as a third baseman, but has been transitioned to primarily be a first baseman. He had an excellent debut in the Pioneer League slashing .345/.448/.520 in 60 games, but struggled some in his first taste of full season ball, slashing just .256/.348/.326 and playing only a single game at third base with Kannapolis in 2018.
He starts slightly open at the plate and uses a leg kick in his load. He still demonstrates s solid eye at the plate and gets the bat to the zone well. The bat can take a while to get through the zone once it gets there, and he struggles to turn his wrists with any real power.
Yurchak is listed at 6’1” and 204 lbs. with a body that doesn’t look like it will add a lot of strength, but the left handed contact bat is definitely one to keep an eye on.
In the end, he will never be a top prospect, but he does have a ceiling of a back of the lineup, contact first bat. Given the Dodgers strikeout struggles this year, adding a player to the system who has walked more than he has struck out in his career is a welcome piece, even if he has to repeat Low A next year.