The Los Angeles Dodgers teenage pitching phenom Julio Urias has been steadily improving his play in the majors. As a result has left manager Dave Roberts as well as the entire organization in a tough situation. Do they keep the 19-year-old up in the rotation in an attempt to solidify everything after Clayton Kershaw? Or shut him down and continue with the slow and steady pace they’ve operated under for the entirety of his time with the organization.
It’s not a question that has a readily available answer and skipper Dave Roberts is well aware of the conundrum the team now faces. In his last start against the Milwaukee Brewers, Urias threw 5 shutout innings where he allowed 5 hits to go along with 8 strikeouts and only 1 walk.
Before his start against the Brewers, Roberts spoke to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register and offered the following on Urias’s first few big league outings:
“He’s handled himself a lot better than I would have at 19,” Roberts said. “The guys like him. That’s a very good barometer in seeing how the players take to him and joke with him and try to teach him. He’s a great young man.”
Urias is scheduled to make his start against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, and if Roberts stays true to his word, it will be his last for the Dodgers in the major leagues for the time being.
— IG: Hernandez_LA (@EHernandezTV) June 20, 2016
There are arguments to be made for both keeping him in the rotation as well shutting the rookie down. With Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu both set to make rehab starts soon and Alex Wood lurking as well, soon there will no longer be an open rotation spot for Urias. However, at the current level he is pitching, at some may view Urias as a better option than the likes of Mike Bolsinger or Carlos Frias.
Given he is only 19, being overly cautious seems to be the best way to handle Urias. But, that will be hard to explain to a rabid fan base who is strictly in “win now” mode and if the front office removes a player that could help the team do just that, it may rub some the wrong way.
Dodgers Nation ran a poll asking if fans thought Urias should be shut down after his next two starts. The answer was a resounding “no.”
POLL: Urias is promised two more starts (tonight, & vs. Washington). Should the #Dodgers shut him down after that?
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) June 18, 2016
Urias should be a mainstay at the front of the rotation for many many years to come even if the Dodgers ultimately do decide to end his current season.
The Dodgers continue their home stand with a three game series against the Washington Nationals that begins Monday night. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM PT and the game is to be televised nationally on ESPN.
Check out Julio Urias last game on Dodgers Nation TV: