SAN DIEGO -- Luis Urias is no stranger to soaring up the prospect leaderboards. Not too long ago, he was a relatively unheralded lower-level second baseman in the Padres' system.But Urias merely kept doing what he's always done: Hit. And over the past two years, the spry 5-foot-8 middle infielder
SAN DIEGO -- Luis Urias is no stranger to soaring up the prospect leaderboards. Not too long ago, he was a relatively unheralded lower-level second baseman in the Padres' system.
But Urias merely kept doing what he's always done: Hit. And over the past two years, the spry 5-foot-8 middle infielder has gone from an afterthought to one of the game's brightest youngsters. MLB Pipeline confirmed as much Monday with its unveiling of the top 10 second-base prospects. Urias ranks second, behind only Philadelphia's Scott Kingery.
:: Top 10 Prospects by Position ::
The announcement continues Urias' meteoric rise through the prospect ranks. He wasn't even listed among the top 10 second basemen in 2017, and now he is also the No. 3 prospect in the Padres' organization.
The 20-year-old is coming off a season in which he batted .296 with a .398 on-base percentage for Double-A San Antonio, as one of the youngest players in the Texas League. In four seasons in the Padres' system, he has maintained a .396 OBP. He'd like to add a bit more power to his game, but team officials believe it's only a matter of time, given his tendency to hit the ball hard routinely.
And while Urias undoubtedly appreciates the recognition, he's set a goal that this will be the last time his name ends up on a preseason prospect list.
"I'd like to be in the Major Leagues next year," Urias told MLB.com at the Rookie Career Development Program earlier this month. "I know I'm young and that it's a process that you have to go through. But I want to play in the Major Leagues in 2018."
It's not a stretch to think Urias could find himself in San Diego this season. On Thursday, he received a non-roster invite to big league camp in Peoria, Ariz.
It's the second year in a row that Urias will join the Padres for Spring Training. In 2017, he got a brief taste of the big league clubhouse before being sent down in early March. This time, however, Urias figures to get a longer look.
The Padres have a bit of a logjam in their infield, with Cory Spangenberg and Carlos Asuaje potentially blocking Urias' path. But there's no obvious candidate for the backup shortstop role, and Urias split his time almost evenly between second and short last season.
"I've worked a lot on having more confidence at shortstop, because I signed as a shortstop," Urias said. "But I didn't have that experience of playing a lot of games at short. In 2017, I had that opportunity to play more at short. I think I had more confidence and I feel good playing both positions."
Realistically, it's nearly a lock that Urias opens the season in the Minors, where he'll get routine playing time. But should he continue his impressive performance, Urias is an obvious candidate for a midseason callup.
Urias is the third Padre to be named among MLB Pipeline's positional Top 10 lists. He joins MacKenzie Gore and Adrian Morejon, who were ranked No. 1 and No. 6, respectively, among the best left-handed pitching prospects.
Like Urias, shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. has skyrocketed toward the top of numerous rankings. MLB Pipeline unveils its 10 best shortstops on Wednesday. Tatis -- Urias' potential double-play partner in the future -- should find his name on that list.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.