Luis Urias Shows No Sign Of Slowing

Best Player

As high as the Padres have picked in the past two drafts and with as much as they’ve spent on the international free agent market, the organization boasts many players with higher ceilings than Luis Urias, the 5-foot-9, 160-pound middle infielder.

Yet no one in the system has had a better first half than the 20-year-old Urias, the starting shortstop at the Texas League all-star game in his first year playing the position.

The circuit’s only teenager to open the season, Urias hit .307/.404/.406 through 75 games at Double-A San Antonio. He ranked among the TL leaders in average, hits (90), on-base percentage, runs (56) and walks (44). He had walked more times than he had struck out for a fourth straight year as a pro.

Urias showed plenty of arm and improved footwork in the field. Second base is his natural position, and he also plays third base. The Padres view him as a potential Martin Prado type in the majors.

“You see a 19-year-old putting together the at-bats that he does and playing shortstop (at Double-A),” farm director Sam Geaney said, “and that’s usually one of a team’s best prospects . . . We keep telling ourselves he’s going to have some struggles along the way, but he never really lets them fester, and they don’t last long when he does.”

Biggest Leap Forward

Two years ago, 22-year-old Franchy Cordero was transitioning to the outfield after committing 126 errors in 165 games as a shortstop in the low minors. He made the full-time switch to center field at high Class A Lake Elsinore in 2016.

Cordero jumped all the way to the majors this season, where his quick, lefthanded swing and athletic 6-foot-3, 175-pound frame made him a capable big leaguer as a rookie.

Cordero hit seven home runs and stole eight bases while hitting .303/.358/.530 through 45 games at Triple-A El Paso.

“To see how far he has come in two short years, to get to the big leagues as an outfielder, “Geaney said. “I think he’s really in a spot where he can just be out there and be an athlete. I think it’s freed up his bat and it’s taken off.”

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