After Dave Roberts confirmed as much days ago, and now it’s officially official: Julio Urias heads to extended spring training. The 20-year-old will pitch in Oklahoma City until the Dodgers promote him.
L.A. intends for Urias to pitch at least once in extended spring training, and could join the team by May, according to Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times.
LA optioned Urias to OKC, but there are various ways – think Ross Stripling's "lower body fatigue" in 2016 – to get him to extended spring.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) April 2, 2017
We’ve known for a while Urias wouldn’t make the initial roster. McCullough suggests his limit is 160-180 innings. The Dodgers want Urias available for the postseason, so stressing his arm in April made little sense.
Urias is the most talented prospect in the system. He projects as a No. 1 starter, and would enter his prime as Clayton Kershaw exits his. Controllable arms are the most valuable assets in baseball. The Dodgers don’t want to risk burning Urias out early – or specifically to this season, a Stephen Strasburg situation.
Expect Los Angeles to continue moving cautiously with Urias when he’s called up. The franchise is prioritizing his long-term health over anything else.