The San Diego Padres appear to have lost their new starting second baseman for the rest of 2018.
The month of September provided a little hope and optimism for San Diego Padres fans. After a season of clamoring for star prospect Luis Urias to be called up to the big leagues, it happened. The move was followed up by the Padres debut of recently acquired, top-catching prospect, Francisco Mejia. Things may not have been good in San Diego, but they were fun.
Suddenly, the fun has been ripped away from us and the joy removed from our souls. In the eighth inning of Tuesday night’s win against the Seattle Mariners, Urias pulled his left hamstring trying to beat out an infield ground ball.
Urias never really found his groove at the plate but provided no shortage of excitement for Padres fans and fans of big prospects who followed his career closely, down in the minor leagues. He hit .208 in his first big league stint, recording 10 hits in 48 at-bats with two home runs, one double, and a stolen base.
There were some positive data points we can look at, from his offensive output. He showed an ability to hit the ball to all parts of the field and showed outstanding patience at the plate, two things he did extremely well in the minors. Per Baseball Savant, his chase rate (25.8%) was about 3% lower than the league average and his first-pitch swing rate (18%) was 10% lower than the league average.
Patience, patience, patience. Luis Urias will be a solid hitter at the big league level. This whole event brings back flashbacks to my childhood Halloweens, so much anticipation, glory at the sugar-infused gold, heartbreak as my parents took it away to ration slowly until it became “stale” and had to be thrown away.
The immediate impact Urias had on this team was his defense, making his abilities known from the very first inning he took the field.
After suffering through Jose Pirela and Christian Villanueva at the position, Padres fans were treated to a natural second baseman with smooth hands, great range, and the ability to play the position at the major league level.
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While it was just a taste, fans can take comfort in knowing that the hype surrounding Luis Urias appears to be justified. Solid is the word that continually comes to mind. Will he put up extremely flashy numbers, no. However, Urias will be solid and steady for a very long time. Let’s just hope this hamstring injury was an unfortunate event and not the new normal.
What’s next for the San Diego Padres?
Before Tuesday night’s game, the Padres brought up shortstop Javy Guerra, who will likely be getting much more playing time than originally projected. Early reports suggest that Freddy Galvis (original plans were to give him time off) could move over to second base while Guerra is given the opportunity to showcase his abilities at shortstop.
This could also open the door for more Cory Spangenberg playing time. Spangenberg has been getting on base at a .358 clip since the All-Star break but has struggled to get base hits (.238 average).
It has become obvious that Carlos Asuaje will not have a place on this roster in 2019, Christian Villanueva is out for the rest of the season, therefore unable to make his case. There aren’t too many games left this season, however, this could be a last-chance opportunity to make an impact at the plate.
The Padres won Tuesday night’s game by a score of 2-1 and will look to sweep the two-game series against the Mariners tonight. Joey Lucchesi will battle Wade LeBlanc with first pitch scheduled for 3:40 pm.