When looking at the Jhoan Urena's last two-plus seasons, it's important to remember that he began his time in the Class A Advanced Florida State League as a 20-year-old with all of 75 games above short season ball. The opportunity to play against consistently older and more experienced competition appears to be paying dividends.
Urena reached base five times, scored twice and slugged a three-run homer in the 11th inning Tuesday to help lead St. Lucie past Dunedin, 10-5, at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. The 21st-ranked Mets prospect has four multi-hit efforts in his last six games to raise his average 88 points to .347. Overall, he's batting .347/.448/.571 with two homers, nine RBIs and 12 runs scored in 13 contests.
Urena entered the season a .221 hitter in 179 games with St. Lucie, although injuries can be partly to blame. He broke both hamate bones in 2015, limiting him to 64 FSL games. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound corner infielder was relatively healthy last year when he batted .225/.301/.350 in a career-high 115 games.
Urena had a hand in just about all of the Mets' offense on Tuesday. With St. Lucie leading, 1-0, he notched his first hit with a single to center. A strong throw by center fielder Lane Thomas nailed Anthony Dimino at the plate to keep a run off the board.
The 22-year-old from the Dominican Republic kick-started St. Lucie's three-run fourth with a leadoff walk. He took second on J.C. Rodriguez's single to right and scored on a double to left by Jeff Diehl. Urena was stranded after earning another free pass in the fifth, then grounded out to shortstop leading off the eighth.
The switch-hitter was intentionally walked in the 10th, tying his career high for free passes set three times previously. Urena put an exclamation point on his big night with a three-run blast to right field off right-hander Kender Villegas (0-1).
Mets No. 11 prospect Wuilmer Becerra delivered a two-run triple and No. 27 Patrick Mazeika chipped in two hits and two RBIs. Dimino and John Mora each added three hits for St. Lucie. Darwin Ramos, Cameron Griffin, Johnny Magliozzi (2-1) and Justin Brantley combined to allow one hit and four walks with nine strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Dunedin's Derrick Loveless went 4-for-6 with two doubles, two stolen bases and an RBI, while Blue Jays No. 24 prospect Juan Kelly had an RBI single, doubled and walked twice in six plate appearances.
No. 23 prospect Jordan Romano started for the D-Jays and surrendered five runs on 10 hits and three walks with three strikeouts over five innings.