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Padres Call up Urias & Mejia

Naciondeportes.com
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Naciondeportes.com

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For the last three seasons, other than Opening Day, September is a Padres fan’s favorite time of the year.

Why? September call-ups.

On Sep. 1, Major League Baseball allows teams to expand their 25-man active roster to 40 players to help contending teams rest their star players for the postseason and, in cases like the Padres, let young prospects come up to get some experience at the big league level before the regular season concludes.

This year seems different than the past because of the star-studded talent coming from Triple-A El Paso.

San Diego has called up players weeks before Sep. 1, including Trey Wingenter, Jacob Nix, and Brett Kennedy, but none more substantial than the move on Aug. 28 calling up second basemen Luis Urias.

The 21-year-old phenom is the fourth best prospect in the farm system according to MLB.com, hitting .296 with 45 RBI’s and 8 home runs. 

The Padres signed Urias as a 16-year-old out of the Mexican League in 2013, and he shot through the minor league system.

At 5-foot-9, Luis Urias will not add much power to his game, but his strengths are his defense and getting on base.

In the minor leagues, Urias had a .397 on-base percentage, taking more walks than strikeouts in his first four seasons.

Before Urias made his major league debut, Padres manager Andy Green was impressed at his discipline at such a young age saying, “He’s a guy we believe in… We love his on-base skills. It’s a good spot in the lineup. Just in general we’ve struggled to get on base, and he’s always done that very well. Whether he starts off doing that well in the big leagues or it takes a little while, we believe he’s going to do that very well for a long time.”

When the 21-year-old reached the big leagues, it didn’t take long to prove to everyone that he was legit.

On his second game in San Diego, he went 3-5 with a double, and then just two days later hit his first home run into the right-field seats.

Photo via Mighty1090

But all of the hype came crashing down when in his 12th big league game, Urias pulled a hamstring running out a ground ball to first base in Seattle.

Andy Green said after the game that he will not return to the field in 2018, but Padres fans were already enjoying their newly acquired catcher Francisco Mejia.

On July 19, the Padres traded two-time all-star closer Brad Hand to the Cleveland Indians for the 22-year-old backstop.

After the trade, he was assigned to Triple-A El Paso.

 

Mejia is the best catching prospect in all of baseball, as he is known for his power at the plate.

In 31 games with the Chihuahuas, he hit .328 with 7 homeruns, and 23 RBIs.

Photo via SD-UT

On Sep. 4, the Padres decided it was time for the 22-year-old to make his Padres debut. 

The only problem was that Austin Hedges was the starting catcher.

Hedges’ strong suit is defense and controlling the pitching staff, and that is exactly what Mejia needs to work on.

 

Austin Hedges is willing to be a team player and help the young catcher.

“Any time you get an asset like that, they’re obviously going to play…. If that means helping us win games, he’s going to play, and we need him in the lineup.”

Photo via SD-UT

Mejia is excited for the opportunity to catch for San Diego: ”I’m excited to have that opportunity to come up here and hit and do what I’ve always done. … I appreciate it a lot. It’s an opportunity not everyone gets. It’s a position I’ve always played. It’s where I feel comfortable.”

 

Mejia is able to play multiple positions, but the Padres want his focus to be behind the plate.

 

“We value that pitcher-catcher relationship dynamic a ton,” Green said. “We think that investment — by catching bullpens, by studying pitchers, by studying opponents, by throwing himself headlong into that process, it’s going to be much better than if he’s worrying about taking fly balls in left field or ground balls at third base. We’ll get there at some point in time if we think that’s best for us.”

Manager Andy Green has a plan set in place for the rest of September. He is going to play Mejia back to back starts and then Hedges for a few games in a row.

Green wants Mejia to catch every pitcher in the rotation before the season ends, so he can get acclimated with pitchers’ tendencies.

Mejia has already shown promise including a walk-off grand slam in San Diego against Texas on September 16.

Photo via Andy Hayt/Getty Images

Luis Urias and Francisco Mejia will be fixtures in the Padres’ lineup for years to come.

The Padres have the #1 farm system in the league, so if you want to see top talent that will be in the big leagues in the future, the annual Padres On Deck game is on Sep. 27 at 6 p.m. at Petco Park.

 

1 Comment

One Response to “Padres Call up Urias & Mejia”

  1. Lezley on October 7th, 2018 7:49 am

    I loved this clear and well written article. I am excited about next season!

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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