Should Luis Urias be playing shortstop for the Padres?

Credit: USA Today Sports

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Should Luis Urias, the probable second baseman of the future for the San Diego Padres be playing shortstop currently?

Fernando Tatis’ rookie season was full of positives and negatives.

While he was in the lineup, he was a dynamic force that plays the game at the level that only a few can play.

Sadly, the Dominican youngster has had two extended periods on the IL. The most recent looks to take him out for the rest of the year, as an ailing back is not an easy injury to return from for a baseball player. The 20-year-old has been out for a few weeks, and in his place, the Padres gave the starting shortstop job to Luis Urias.

A few eyebrows may have risen, but the right-handed hitting infielder played the majority of his games at the Triple-A level this season at shortstop. He played 53 of his 73 games at the position while playing for the Chihuahuas and played very well there. Urias recorded a .972 fielding percentage in 464.1 innings, committing seven errors. Though Luis Urias owns a career .949 fielding percentage at shortstop, he has been very reliable the last two seasons at the position. At least at the minor league level.

The question is not if Luis Urias is capable of playing the position for the Padres. It is more relevant to ask- why is he playing there?

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the future at shortstop for San Diego. There is no debating that. The team will likely explore a contract extension with the shortstop before he hits the open market after the 2024 season. So with Tatis locking down the position for the next five season, it is strange to insist on playing time for Luis Urias at short. Shouldn’t he be playing second base where his future seems to be?

[wpedon id=”49075″ align=”right”]

The Machado factor

It is not a secret that Manny Machado enjoys playing shortstop. He has made this known. He originally wanted to sign with a team that would guarantee him a shot at the position but changed that stance while negotiating later in the offseason. Ultimately signing with the Padres and settling in as a third baseman.

In 37 games, while Tatis was out early in the season, Machado made a few highlight-reel plays at shortstop. He committed three errors there, resulting in a .973 fielding percentage. Machado is more than capable of playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at a pivotal position on the infield. No doubt having Manny Machado at shortstop is a benefit to the San Diego Padres.

Allowing France to play every day

Ty France was not recalled to the Padres to showcase his terrific curveball while on the mound. He is a hitter. And a very good one. The former SDSU product has earned the right to get an extended look against major league pitching. Why not give him this chance and allow him to do so at a defensive position he is comfortable at- third base.

Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Machado at shortstop allows Ty France to get 20-25 starts against major league pitching for the rest of the season. The team can further evaluate his future and determine what to do with him. If he can hit as he has at the minor league level (.859 career minor league OPS) while at Petco, he will have excellent value. Then there is the possibility that Luis Urias and Ty France will compete directly next spring for the starting second baseman job. Why not have both in the lineup to determine who fits the team’s need better for the future?

Developing comfort at second base

Allowing Urias to stay at second would give him a jump on the 2020 season. He is still a little rough around the edges with his footwork and such at the position. Again, his future is at second base. He should be given time there not at shortstop. Especially given the fact the Padres have a more than capable player on the roster (Machado) who can play the position at a Gold Glove level.

With just over 30 games left in the season and playoff hopes all but gone, the Padres need to evaluate their current talent. In getting an adequate evaluation of each man, they must be playing the game with comfort. At this point, the Padres have players playing positions they “can play” rather than areas where their future lies. In doing that, there is a healthy fear that the franchise will not get a proper determination of each player’s actual value. The Padres should give Luis Urias a chance to showcase skills at second base and start the evaluation process towards a potential successful 2020 season.

(Visited 844 times, 1 visits today)

9 thoughts on “Should Luis Urias be playing shortstop for the Padres?

  1. The decision to put France at 2nd is pretty simple. The Padres need to see Ty’s ability to play another position. He clearly won’t be playing 3B for the Padres and Urias has not secured anything there yet. Urias can play both 2nd and SS which is a great option to have. Hopefully Tatis can be healthier going forward so the Pads don’t have to turn to Urias at SS much

  2. Does it really matter? The season is long gone thanks to Green’s constant bungling.
    After the 11-5 start, the team played .460 ball the rest of the 1st half (34-40). They’re 17-26 since the all star break. That’s .400 ball. The team played .407 ball in 2018. They have been worse in the second half than they were last year, before Machado and Tatis and Paddack.
    How is that NOT a reason to change the manager?
    It’s not just fan griping, this team is cratering. While websites, including EVT, ramble on about individual players, and who should play shortstop, the manager is largely given a pass. When will these websites, including EVT, adopt a more critical perspective on Green?
    In a well run organization this guy would be fired right now.

  3. I think you may have missed the reasoning behind the decision (If i can be so bold).

    The reason should be fairly clear: France will never be a ML 3B for the San Diego Padres.

    So, putting him at 3B where he is most comfortable allows him to progress with his bat, but not prove his adaptability at a position he could actually end up at (2b). The Padres are giving him a chance to prove himself to be a better bat than Urias and learn 2b. At the same time, it allows Urias ML ABs at a position he’s comfortable with (Like you mentioned, has played much more SS in the minors). It could also increase his trade value if he does well.

    The win now move with the 3 of them would be France, Manny, Urias with Garcia spelling Urias and France against RHP somewhat. The best development for a competition to go out and win the 2020 2b job is exactly what they’re doing.

    Would love to start a conversation and see what you guys think though!

  4. This is why I believe that Andy Green needs to be fired. He has for far too long tried to put players at positions they should not be in. When a 3rd of your line up is playing out of position what good is that extra bat going to do when you are hanging E’s and giving away outs and runs.

  5. As soon as Tatis was hurt with this latest injury I thought that Machado would move to short, Urias to second and France would play third. I don’t believe Urias has a strong enough arm or a accurate enough arm to play short. However, Green and I don’t see eye to eye on quite a few lineup choices. I would not be giving Hedges so much playing time. I would be platooning at first base with both Hosmer and Myers. Naylor is not quick enough to be an outfielder.

    1. Problem this is not Andy Greens decision, while he may have input, the final decision on who starts where for the rest of the season are made in the front office.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *