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Tatis, Urias give Padres glimpse at bright future

Highly touted prospects have lived up to their considerable billing
MLB.com @AJCassavell

PEORIA, Ariz. -- In his Thursday mailbag, MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis made it known that he believes Padres Minor Leaguers Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias comprise the best prospect double-play tandem in baseball.

Coincidentally, Tatis and Urias agree with that assessment.

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- In his Thursday mailbag, MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis made it known that he believes Padres Minor Leaguers Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias comprise the best prospect double-play tandem in baseball.

Coincidentally, Tatis and Urias agree with that assessment.

View Full Game Coverage

MLB Pipeline's Twitter account teased the question by asking, "Are #Padres prospects Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias the best double-play duo in the minors?" Urias was quick to answer in the affirmative.

Tweet from @LuisUrias03: pic.twitter.com/zG0fnCaDUw

Tatis, meanwhile, merely seemed to be enjoying the show.

Tweet from @tatis_jr: pic.twitter.com/9pMktjL1BU

Of course, there isn't much argument otherwise across baseball. Tatis is the No. 2-rated shortstop prospect by MLB Pipeline and No. 8 overall. Urias comes in second among second basemen and is 36th overall.

Both are in big league camp this spring, and they've more than held their own. Urias is 8-for-20 (.400) and Tatis is 9-for-26 (.346) with an opposite-field homer, before Friday's game against the White Sox. When they played together for the first time as Padres last month, first baseman Eric Hosmer joked about "an infield that wasn't old enough to buy a drink."

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Urias is 20, Tatis 19. They first met in instructional ball two seasons ago. But they didn't "become family," in Urias' words, until Tatis arrived in San Antonio last season. Their respect for each other is clear.

"It's awesome playing next to a guy that's so talented," Tatis said. "He's such a good player, and you can learn a lot from him. We're always talking and helping each other."

Said Urias: "We're young, we're kind of on the same page with our development. He's a great player, and he's a very fun guy to be around."

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Their bond extends beyond baseball. They share similar tastes in video games and TV shows. Earlier this spring, Tatis and Urias saw "Black Panther" together in theaters. Afterward, the two decided that when they hit doubles, they'd cross their forearms over their chests, mimicking the "Wakanda Salute" from the film.

Perhaps fittingly, they've already combined for eight doubles -- Urias leading the team with five and Tatis tied for third with three.

"When you do that kind of stuff together off of the field, it makes it more fun to play together on the field," Urias said.

Video: KC@SD: Tatis Jr. lines an RBI double to left field

Barring something unforeseen, neither Urias nor Tatis will break camp with the Major League club. The Padres feel both have more development left before they break through in the big leagues.

They might not be too far off. Urias spent last season as one of the youngest players in the Texas League. He batted .296/.398/.380 with Double-A San Antonio, and some predict a midseason debut.

Tatis, meanwhile, spent most of last year with Class A Fort Wayne before making the jump to Double-A for the stretch run. He batted .278/.379/.498 with 22 homers between the two levels. He could be destined for a September callup.

In theory, Tatis and Urias could arrive in San Diego around the same time and anchor the middle of the Padres' infield for years to come.

"It sounds great, if you look at the vision," Urias said. "It sounds fun, the idea to play for a long time with him."

No doubt, Padres fans everywhere are nodding in agreement.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

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