Miami Marlins pitching prospect Jose Urena threw seven shutout innings for the Double-A Jacksonville Suns yesterday, allowing three hits and one walk while fanning eight in a 1-0 victory over the Montgomery Biscuits.
For the season, Urena is now 9-7, 3.88 in 19 starts and one relief appearance, pitching 123 innings with a 93/24 K/BB and 126 hits allowed. His control has been sharp of late, with a 41/7 K/BB in his last 46 innings.
Signed by the Marlins in 2008 out of the Dominican Republic, Urena is a 6-3, 190 pound right-hander born September 12, 1991. He wasn't a big-budget signee with a modest $52,000 bonus, but he's developed into a reliable inning-eater, throwing 138 innings in 2012 and 150 last year without ill effect. He has a steady fastball in the 92-94 range, peaking at 96-97 on his best days, and mixes in a solid changeup. His slider comes and goes, but it's gotten a little better every year. He throws strikes and has an athletic frame that should help him stay durable. His mound presence is also a positive.
The Baseball Instinct video linked above is a year old but it gives you the general idea of his approach. I'm told he's cleaned up his mechanics a bit more this year, but the only video I can find is this one from MilB linked below. It isn't the best quality and I'm not sure I see much of a difference. Do you?
Some scouts see Urena as a reliever due to the erratic slider but I think it makes sense to keep using him as a starter until he proves he can't handle it.
In any event, he is performing well in Double-A and we should see him in the majors sometime within the next year. He could become a solid inning-eater type or a workable middle man. Not bad for $52,000.