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Thoughts on San Diego Padres prospect Luis Urias

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Promising young hitter arrives in the majors

Seattle Mariners v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

This week the San Diego Padres promoted infielder Luis Urias to the major league roster. He went 0-for-3 with a walk on Tuesday then followed up with a 3-for-5 game on Wednesday, including a double and a run scored. I’ve had several requests for my current view on Urias, so here goes.

First, here’s the view just before spring training on the San Diego Padres Top 20 prospects for 2018 list:

4) Luis Urias, 2B-SS, Grade B+: Age 20, signed out of Mexico in 2013; hit .296/.398/.380 with 20 doubles, three homers, 68 walks, 65 strikeouts in 442 at-bats in Double-A; excellent strike zone judgment with contact ability and gap power, not likely to be a home run hitter but has respectable punch, enough to keep pitchers honest; not a butcher at shortstop but range and hands work better at second base; could be something like Freddy Sanchez with more walks and fewer injuries. ETA late 2018.

Urias spent the season with Triple-A El Paso in the Pacific Coast League, a very friendly hitting environment. He had another good run, hitting .296/.396/.447 with eight homers, 30 doubles, 67 walks, and 109 strikeouts in 430 at-bats.

He was extremely hot in August, hitting .420/.480/.659, which drove his numbers up after some less impressive weeks earlier in the year. Overall his wRC+ came out at 127, very similar to the 124 mark he posted in Double-A in 2017. Yes, it’s the PCL and El Paso is a fine place to hit, but he is only 21 years old. There’s not much left for him to learn in Triple-A.

The overall scouting profile hasn’t changed: he has a very quick bat, a mechanically-sound swing, a fine eye for the strike zone. His strikeout rate has risen this year but he’s maintained his walks and his isolated power continues to tick upward.

What about the glove? He played 20 games at shortstop this year and made just two errors but spent most of his time at second. He’s reliable at both positions, making just four errors in 90 contests at second. He can play third if you really need him to, but the keystone is the best fit. PCL observers universally-praised his focus and maturity.

Overall, Urias’ stock has held up. I would modify the Freddy Sanchez comp: at this point I’d expect more walks from Urias and a slightly lower average, which of course would be “not Freddy Sanchez” but still a long-term and highly productive regular.