Astros Season Rewind: Yulieski “Yuli” Gurriel

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Sep 9, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros third baseman Yulieski Gurriel (10) his a single during the second inning against the Chicago Cubs at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 9, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros third baseman Yulieski Gurriel (10) his a single during the second inning against the Chicago Cubs at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Houston Astros received a much-needed boost late in the season courtesy of a certain Cuban slugger.

Yulieski Gurriel, better known as “Yuli,” had an interesting first short season for the Houston Astros this year. On July 16 of this year, Gurriel signed a 5 year, $47.5 million deal for the organization and was quickly promoted to the major leagues after just 15 games across four different minor league teams.

One of the most interesting thing about Gurriel is his age, as he was a 32-year-old rookie this year for the team. Throughout the year he showed flashes of how good he can be on the Astros, so let’s take a look at his overall season.

The Beginning

After not playing professional baseball all year, Gurriel started his comeback in late July with the Astros’ Rookie League level team. He made his way through the ranks quickly, only playing a few games at a time at each level of the minor leagues. Overall in 15 games played, the Cuban slugger hit .250 with two home runs and 14 RBI. This quick stretch was enough to help condition him for the attempt at a postseason run for the Astros.

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The Bigs

The management of the Astros had seen enough of Gurriel to call him up in the middle of August. On August 21, he made his debut for the team. He started off strong in his first 20 games, becoming one of the Astros’ best hitters during that time frame. He definitely helped propel the Astros into a close race for the second Wild Card spot in the AL, which the team unfortunately did not end up receiving. Then the late season struggles began.

He seemed fatigued in the last couple weeks of the year, making contact but being unable to reach base as often as before. Gurriel ended his first stint with the Astros hitting .262 with three home runs and 15 RBI, about the same production as the minor leagues in twice the amount of games. He mainly played DH for the team with some time at third base as well.

The Positives are Definitely There

The Astros late addition in 2016 will be a major factor in upcoming seasons. This year was a chance for him to test the waters and see how the big leagues would really be. One reason he will be a major factor is that he will have more of a chance to condition for the grind of the major league season. He will be ready next season to tackle a full year of baseball.

Gurriel will also be a veteran presence in the dugout that the Astros need, as he will be 33 next season and has played professional ball since he was 17. He looks to be an everyday player next year, whether being the DH, playing third, or even playing left field. And he also showed what he had this year and will continue to improve next year.

The Struggles of A.J. Reed

The Promising Teoscar Hernandez

A Case of Collin McHugh

The Interesting Case of Luis Valbuena

Southpaw Dallas “Cy” Keuchel

Yulieski “Yuli” Gurriel

The Intro of James Hoyt

Ultra-Utility Man Marwin Gonzalez

The Arrival of Alex Bregman

Evolution of Evan Gattis

“The Dragon” Chris Devenski

Sophomore Slump for Carlos Correa?

The Up’s and Down’s of Luke Gregerson

A Lackluster Year for Left Hander Tony Sipp

Who is the Real Carlos Gomez?

George “Super” Springer

Ken Giles, the Solution or the Problem?

The Mighty Jose Altuve

Next: Astros: What to do about First Base?

Gurriel did not have enough at-bats to qualify for a season played. So that essentially means that next year he will retain his rookie status. Put him on your early Rookie of the Year ballots, because the 32-year-old rookie is coming. 

**Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference**

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