Texas notes: Padres' Urias riding fast track

Teenage infielder thriving in Double-A debut with San Antonio

Luis Urias ranks among the top five in the Texas League in average (.347) and extra-base hits (13), among other categories. (Shawn E. Davis/MiLB.com)

By Troy Schulte / Special to MiLB.com | May 5, 2017 10:00 AM ET

Luis Urias has already done his fair share of moving around in professional baseball. 

The 19-year-old infielder is hitting .347 with 13 extra-base hits for Double-A San Antonio, his fourth team in the last 13 months. 

But the nomadic lifestyle isn't new to Urias, the youngest player in the Texas League. He's been on the move since he was 15, when he left home in Magdalena de Kino, Mexico, to attend a baseball academy that eventually set him on his current path in the Padres system. 

Urias signed with San Diego in 2013 and has been defying his age ever since. In the last year, he's hit .330 at Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore, had a short stint at Triple-A El Paso and played for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. 

"At the beginning I missed my home and my family and my friends," said Urias, who's making his Double-A debut with San Antonio this season. "The beginning was tough. Then, I just worked hard to get better."

It's paying off for Urias, who is ranked as the Padres' No. 5 prospect and -- even though he's played mostly shortstop this year -- the No. 8 second-base prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com. 

He collected four hits Tuesday in a loss at Frisco -- his third four-hit game of the season -- and ranks among the top five in the Texas League in average (.354), hits (34), on-base percentage (.431), extra-base hits (13) and total bases (54). 

Video: San Antonio's Urias doubles on four-hit night

He's doing it all as the league's youngest player, too. But Urias said he tries to block out that distinction, despite fielding regular questions on the topic. He was also the youngest player in the California League last year when he earned the circuit's MVP award.

"You have to control that," he said of any potential distraction. "I don't think too much about 'Oh, I'm the youngest guy.' They're going to throw to me like I'm the oldest guy. It's about being patient, relaxed, controlled."

He's done that despite his whirlwind 2016. 

He started at Lake Elsinore and spent one July series with El Paso, where he went 4-for-9 with a homer and six runs scored. He then went back to Lake Elsinore to finish a season in which he hit a combined .333 and slugged .446. Then in March, he split time between Major League camp and Team Mexico. He would've liked to perform better in the WBC -- he was 1-for-6 -- but said he learned plenty from the experience, which included quality time with the Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez and other established big leaguers. 

"They were amazing," he said. "The greatest experience I had in my life."

His sights are back on climbing the Padres' system, no matter how fast it's going. 

"You can see, I've been doing this before," he said about moving around in baseball. "Trying to adapt to the city and to new friends and all that."

In brief

New league, same speed: Ian Miller finished second in the Southern League with 49 stolen bases last year. Now in the Texas League after the Seattle Mariners switched their affiliation from Jackson to Arkansas, the 25-year-old center fielder is still controlling the base paths. He leads the circuit with 11 stolen bases through Wednesday and has only been caught twice. 

Early power: San Antonio's Nick Schulz hit 10 home runs in 106 games at San Antonio last year and has nearly matched that total in this season's first month. The 26-year-old right fielder hit his league-leading eighth long ball in a Monday victory over Midland, and he's homered three times in his last seven games. Schulz hit a career-best 12 homers in 2015 at Lake Elsinore. 

Solid debut: Springfield right-hander Jack Flaherty gave up an earned run April 30 in his last start, but it was just the second he's allowed all season. The 21-year-old finished his first month at Double-A at 4-0 with a league-low 0.56 ERA. Flaherty, a 2014 first-round pick, has 28 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings while walking just four batters. 

Troy Schulte is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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