Padres prospect watch: Luis Urías putting up big numbers for red-hot Chihuahuas

The El Paso Chihuahuas, San Diego’s Triple-A affiliate, are arguably the hottest team in all of minor league baseball right now. They have come out victorious in a franchise-record 15 home games in a row, are winners of eight straight overall, and are 17-3 in August. Their recent surge has made it a near certainty that they return to the Pacific Coast League playoffs for the fourth year in a row (with 12 games left in the regular season, their magic number to win the division is three).

At the center of El Paso’s recent torrid stretch has been one of the brightest, more advanced prospects in the Padres’ top ranked farm system: infielder Luis Urías.

Urías, ranked as the No. 4 prospect in the system and No. 22 in all of baseball, has been absolutely tearing the cover off the ball in August. In the season’s final full month, the Mexico native is batting a blistering .432/.482/.689 (32-for-74) with 13 extra base hits in 20 games played. In that time, Urías has seen his OPS skyrocket from .774 to .841. His bat has especially caught fire in recent days, to the tune of a .525 average with three walks and six strikeouts in his last 10 games.

The 21-year-old’s recent performance has many fans antsy about when his much-anticipated MLB debut will come. With rosters expanding to 40 on September 1, Luis Urías may be in line to debut then, or shortly thereafter. However, recent talk makes it seem much more likely that Urías gets the call once the Chihuahuas’ season is over, whenever that may be.

The Padres organization has shown a desire to have their minor leaguers play meaningful baseball prior to call ups in the past. Take El Paso’s 2016 “core four” (Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, Austin Hedges, & Carlos Asuaje), who won a PCL title with the Chihuahuas before being called up in late September. The organization may see benefit in allowing Urías (as well as players such as Francisco Mejia) to do the same before reaching San Diego.

Whatever the Padres do decide to do, Luis Urías is not too far away from MLB action. He should be in line to be San Diego’s Opening Day second baseman in 2019.