Peoria, Ariz. — It was just four innings and one plate appearance in the first game of spring training, but…

Peoria, Ariz. -- It was just four innings and one plate appearance in the first game of spring training, but shortstop Gabriel Arias made the most of it.

"Pretty impressive," said Padres manager Jayce Tingler. "The first at-bat he comes up and misses a double by maybe an inch. I think it's probably easy to get your dauber down and that's it. But next pitch follows it up with a bullet to right field.

"And he's not done there. He ends up stealing two pitches later and gets into scoring position, then Rivas gets a hit and brings in two. For a 19-year-old -- I'm trying to think what I was doing when I was 19 and I don't quite remember, but I know it wasn't that."

While Arias found his way into a few big league spring training games each of the last two years, this year is different. Still only 19 years old, the precocious teen wasn't originally slated to be part of camp, but an offseason of productive work on the heels of a second-half breakout at Lake Elsinore earned a late non-roster invitation to Major League spring training.

A year after one of the game's most exciting young players and a franchise building block debuted at his position, it sounds crazy to ask. But...

Could Gabriel Arias be the Padres' shortstop of the future?

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Posted by David Jay

David has written for MadFriars since 2005, has published articles in Baseball America, written a monthly column for FoxSports San Diego and appeared on numerous radio programs and podcasts. He may be best known on the island of Guam for his photos of Trae Santos that appeared in the Pacific Daily News.

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