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It’s easy to forget sometimes that Luis Urias is still just 20 years old (DOB: Jun 3, 1997) considering the fact that he’s already pushed past both Double-A and dominated a stint in the Arizona Fall League representing the San Diego Padres, hitting for average and getting on base with the best of ’em along the way. A free agent signing as a teenager out of Mexico, the middle infielder has moved quickly to date, and in his 347 game career Urias is already a .310 hitter with 153 walks against just 135 strikeouts in more than 1,500 plate appearances. That bodes well for his future in San Diego; although Urias has virtually no pop (just a .391 career slugging percentage), his contact skills are off the charts, and coupled with above-average defense, he’s fast becoming one of the Padres’ top prospects ahead of the 2018 season.

Baseball Census saw Luis Urias for most of the 2016 season when he was playing with High-A Lake Elsinore, and then we got a second good look at him last month while he was playing for the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League. (Just as you’d expect from him, the San Diego Padres prospect slashed .315/.443/.481/.924 in 17 games at the AFL against the game’s best pitching prospects.) Below, you’ll find our full Luis Urias scouting report based on our AFL notes — tool grades, game video, and projections for the remarkable contact hitter and defensive middle infielder.

Luis Urias Scouting Report, San Diego Padres — 2017

Dates observed in 2017: Arizona Fall League

Hit (70)
Truly freakish ability to put the barrel on the ball like few I’ve seen the last few years. Exceptional (double-plus?) hand-eye coordination and pitch recognition, with advanced pitch tracking and a mature understanding both of the strike zone, and of how he’s being pitched based on game situation. Relied on leg kick for timing the last few years, but kick itself and weight transfer are both much more pronounced this year; perhaps adjustment comes to take advantage of bat speed and create some leverage in bid for more gap-to-gap power. Little natural pop right now, even with average to slightly above-average bat speed; swing is more geared to spraying all fields with the ball a la Victor Reyes, and Urias will show an inside-out approach there to get the job done instead of selling out for power. Plate discipline has improved remarkably since I saw him in 2016; always been low on strikeouts, but AFL viewings showed him to be more discerning in takes with better feel for the strike zone than a year earlier; clearly maturing as a hitter. May fall short of fighting for a batting title one day due to propensity for some weak contact, but he’ll be a phenomenal situational hitter with ability to get on base consistently through maturation to ceiling.

Power (30)
Extremely littler power at present; virtually no over-the-fence pop now and unlikely to develop into average power profile with age. Much larger weight transfer/leg kick is a big difference from a year ago, but swing remains ideal for gap power. Orientation matters; Urias’ is generally a center/right-center approach, and he’ll fall in love with spraying line drives there, sacrificing the inner half and taking away his own ability to turn on hard stuff with authority. If he sells out for more power, though, there’s a trade-off with losing some plate coverage and barrel feel on the outer half; likely best at this point to remain contact heavy, punchy live drive guy who can function as a table-setter with occasional pop.

Glove (60)
Really liked him last year as a second baseman in Lake Elsinore, and his new look at shortstop in AFL was even better. Rangy and athletic to both glove side and into the hole; covers ground with quick reactions and plays bigger than he is at the six-hole. Will make plays on the dive; sense of urgency there with good internal clock to make plays on fast runners. Impressive physical stature with maturity and poise; situational awareness good enough to play short at the next level. Unsure if he’s a true everyday guy there in the big leagues, or if he’ll move back to second base, but he can undoubtedly handle the six-hole and it’s impressive how much he’s improved to assert himself in a year’s time.

Arm (55)
Not quite a plus arm and lacks a true cannon from the hole at shortstop on his backhand, but definitely above-average arm strength with good carry and accuracy. Consistent and reliable; fits better at second, perhaps, but he’ll have enough arm strength to play shortstop should he wind up there. Good footwork helps him get under his arm; good overall athlete.

Speed (60)
Had him 4.20 - 4.26 up the line to first base in a few AFL times; bumped him to a 60-grade here because of exceptional footwork and first-step quickness on defense. Very good overall athlete who’s light on his feet and anticipates well, both defensively and on the bases. Has struggled with executing stolen bases, though more a testament to lack of experience in reading pitchers than anything else; unlikely to be a major stolen base threat but should improve steal rate and swipe a couple bags as he ages.

Whiz kid; remarkable to see how much he’s improved over the course of a year. Taken on two big challenges (Double-A adjustments, AFL pitching) and come away a significantly better player than he was going in (at 20 years old!). Goes without saying, but development path bodes well for future big league role. Unique player with fascinating approach/execution at the plate; can’t wait to see if he can really play shortstop in the big leagues, but I’m bullish on him as an everyday second baseman in San Diego who will adjust quickly and thrive.

Luis Urias Scouting Report, San Diego Padres — Game Video

Luis Urias Scouting Report — Notes, Analysis & Projection

One of the most exciting young prospects in baseball that isn’t on the Ronald Acuna-Victor Robles tier of potential future All-Star difference makers in The Show, Luis Urias may not wind up a flashy household name, but he’s got a good chance at being a remarkably consistent, competitive first-division starting middle infielder. A soon-to-be wunderkind with the San Diego Padres, it’s truly remarkable what Urias has been able to produce to date in his career and at his age, and there’s no reason he’d slow down as he moves closer to the big leagues. Seeing how well he took to shortstop at the AFL was icing on the cake, further proving that Urias’ athleticism and advanced feel for the game truly are for real.

There are holes, of course. He’s going to make a lot of weak, ground ball contact as he adjusts to better pitching with that inside-out approach, and it’s going to take some work to consistently produce gap-to-gap punch when he reaches the big leagues. The AFL served as a very nice audition, though, and Urias proved (albeit in a small sample size) that his revamped leg kick and more-leveraged look at the plate can work against top-line pitching. As young as he is, Luis Urias has ample time to make good on an everyday infielder ceiling for the San Diego Padres; barring significant injury, I can’t imagine him not reaching the big leagues in 2018.

Overall Future Potential (Future Value): Fascinating, unique set of tools; sum total profiles as an above-average everyday middle infielder at ceiling with versatile platoon/utility floor (55)

MLB ETA: 2018

Did you like this Luis Urias scouting report? Get more prospects here:

San Diego Padres RHP Andres Munoz — CLICK HERE

Oakland Athletics C Sean Murphy — CLICK HERE

Chicago White Sox 2B Danny Mendick — CLICK HERE

Kansas City Royals OF Elier Hernandez — CLICK HERE

Tampa Bay Rays RHP Roel Ramirez — CLICK HERE


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Bobby DeMuro

Bobby DeMuro is the founder of Baseball Census. A former college and independent league baseball player, he now watches more than 200 games a year working full time for the site. You can follow him on Twitter @BobbyDeMuro for more.

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    […] Bobby DeMuro of Baseball Census put together an excellent scouting report on Urias this past Decembe…. He puts a 70-grade (future .300 hitter) on Urias’s hit tool (future .300 hitter), stating that Urias has a “truly freakish ability to put the barrel on the ball like few I’ve seen the last few years.” But he puts a 30-grade (3-5 HR) on his power tool. “Extremely little power at present; virtually no over-the-fence pop now and unlikely to develop into average power profile with age.” […]

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