Luis Urias Has Nothing More to Prove in Triple-A

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Chihuahuas

Luis Urias seems to have gained his confidence and found his sweet swing again during this stint in El Paso.

Luis Urias played just 11 games with the big league Padres this season, struggling mightily to the tune of a .083 average, a .366 OPS and 37.9 percent strikeout rate.

On April 20, he was sent back down to El Paso, where he has been ever since. All he has done in his time in El Paso is bat .342, with 17 home runs and a 1.105 OPS, which is second in all of the Pacific Coast League.

He is in the top 10 in the PCL in most offensive categories.

He has hit like he was personally offended at the demotion. The Padres hinted at several reasons why Urias was sent down and is still not in a major league uniform. His leg kick was throwing off his timing and becoming too busy.

Judging by his swings on Thursday night in Tacoma, that has been fixed. It is less dramatic and more under control. He went 4-for-5 with a home run and a double, hitting the ball hard every time he came to the plate.

He was tasked in re-finding his elite approach at the plate, which he seemed to lose at the big league level. He has found it again with an 11.3 percent walk rate and an 18.8 percent strikeout rate that only Josh Naylor has beaten.

The Padres also wanted him to show consistency and gain confidence. In now 175 games in Triple-A total, he has hit 26 home runs with a .313 average and a .939 OPS with a strikeout rate under 20 percent.

In June, he is batting .314 with four homers, a .977 OPS and 135 wRC+. He has not hit below .300 in any of the three calendar months he has been with El Paso.

Defensively, he has split time between second base and shortstop, with 32 games at short and 11 games at second base.

At this point, he is toying the Triple-A pitchers. His power numbers have skyrocketed across the board, setting career highs in home runs (17), OPS (1.105) and wRC+ (164). His .333 ISO is also a career high. For a player who is 5’9″ and not even 190 pounds, he has accessed power previously untapped.

He once again has established himself as one of the best pure hitters in the minor leagues. MLB Pipeline lists Urias as the 20th-best prospect in all of baseball and the second-best second baseman.

There is nothing more for Urias to do in Triple-A besides put up video game numbers. Fans would prefer those numbers to be put to good use at the big league level. Urias is yet to be given a fair look in the majors, with just 23 games and 82 plate appearances under his belt. Once he finally gets consistent at-bats in San Diego, the baseball world will see just how good of an all-around baseball player Luis Urias is.

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Nick Lee
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.
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Chuck
Chuck
3 years ago

Well, someone has to have the balls to get rid of Kinsler. The guy is over confident with the attitude of a good player that is nothing of the talent that played with the Red Sox some time ago. Urias needs to be brought up and given the position full time with Garcia the utility player that he is great at. Kinsler is horrible and has shown NO signs for being any good … but don’t ask him … he really thinks he is the “shit” but honestly, he is deification at best.

bk
bk
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck

Hey Chuck,

A 4-6 weeks ago i would have agreed with you. Check his monthly stats and he’s actually improved massively. Has been our 3rd or 4th best bat over the last 6 weeks (4th once tatis came back). I don’t like him or keeping Urias down either, but credit where it’s due. Kinsler has turned it around.

Tanned Tom
Tanned Tom
3 years ago

Sure, promote him. But let’s remember that PCL #’s are like Little League stats, and that Urias has proven to be hard to coach. His swing was cartoonish – a 5’9″ guy swinging for the fences every time up, with a big leg kick. He couldn’t or wouldn’t change that in the bigs, so he was sent down to retool. He is not blocked by Kinsler or Garcia. They are both short-term guys on low budget deals. And Kinsler’s low numbers are really the result of an ice-cold April, he’s been better that expected in May and June. So, they… Read more »

Gary Klimas
Gary Klimas
3 years ago

Nice article Nick but you have to consider TWO big things; Urias is BLOCKED from playing and there is just no room for him. When Preller made that 2 year deal to Kinsler for $8,000,000 – money I doubt he will eat, that effectively told Urias he’d be in AAA unless someone made a trade for him OR the Padres traded KInsler for another need. Then Preller signed Machado and that further told Urias he’d have NO chance at making the big club. Plus Garcia is playing very well! Just so you know, I felt the same frustration last year… Read more »

Chris
Chris
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Klimas

The best we can hope is for some playoff bound team to trade for Kinsler like the Red Sox did last year. His #s have been a little better recently so if Preller gets any offers that don’t require him to eat the contract he should take it. I’d rather have Garcia on the roster over Kinsler anyway.

LB
LB
3 years ago

If only there was a PCL translator so we could weed out the inflated numbers.

matt
matt
3 years ago

Please, Please, bring him up now. Kinsler’s time is past. Why wait any longer. In today’s game when the bases were loaded with Pirates and the ball went past Kinsler’s right the first thing I thought of was that Urias would have at least knocked that ball down from going into center field. Let him start everyday just like Mejia so by next year he will be completely comfortable in the big leagues.

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