Tomorrow, the Los Angeles Dodgers will send rookie left-hander Julio Urias to the mound against the New York Mets for his major league debut. Urias has been one of the most anticipated prospects for 2016 and has been utterly dominant in Triple-A. Here's a look at what to expect.
Urias was signed out of Mexico by the Dodgers back in 2012. His advanced pitchability combined with quality stuff moved him up the ladder extremely quickly: he's not even 20 years old yet. Last year he posted a 3.81 ERA at three levels with an 88/22 K/BB in 80 innings. This was solid but not quite as fun as his 2.36 ERA and 109/37 K/BB in 88 innings in High-A in 2014.
From the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:
Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Bats: L Throws: L HT: 6-1 WT: 185 DOB: August 12, 1996
2014: Grade B+; 2015: Grade A
Julio Urias was just a little more human last year. He was still excellent and was one of the best pitchers in Double-A at the age of 18/19. He took a few weeks off for surgery to correct a droopy eyelid but given his age the workload break probably did his arm some good. Reports haven’t changed much from last year: he can hit 96, works at 90-94, locates his fastball with precision, deploys an excellent change-up, mixes in a plus curve and an average slider, and demonstrates pitching instincts beyond his years. Urias got beat up in two Triple-A starts when he nibbled too much but that’s certainly forgivable; most kids his age are in rookie ball or college. He is still a Grade A prospect, a unique talent who just needs to show how many innings he can handle as he matures.
There was no beating up Urias in Triple-A this year: he had a stunning 1.10 ERA in 41 innings for Oklahoma City with a 44/8 K/BB and just 24 hits allowed. And remember, that's the Pacific Coast League, a tough environment for pitchers.
One other thing: he hasn't allowed a run since April 22nd.
Urias is obviously ready for the majors and likely an extended trial given his dominance of the high minors. His combination of stuff and command is very special. The only real questions here are age/workload/durability, but if his arm holds up he can be a top-of-the-rotation starter.