At just 18 years old, Julio Urias is on a steady rise to potential stardom with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Urias has only reached the High-A level, where he spent the 2014 season, but already has some believing he’s capable of much more.
In Baseball Prospectus’ recently released rankings, Urias overtook Corey Seager for the top spot among the Dodgers top-10 prospects. Urias was bestowed with another honor on Wednesday as he was named the top left-handed pitching prospect in all of baseball by MLBPipeline.com.
Included in Urias’ selection was this assessment of the young lefty:
Not only is Urias the top left-handed pitching prospect in the Minor Leagues, he’s also the most precocious phenom in the game. The youngest pitcher in full-season ball in 2014, he dominated in the the hitter-friendly California League as a 17-year-old. His ERA (2.36), strikeout rate (11.2 per nine innings) and opponent average (.194) all would have easily led the league if the Dodgers hadn’t kept him on tight pitch counts that prevented him from qualifying.
In his debut season with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Urias threw 87.2 innings and had 109 strikeouts over 25 games, 20 of which were starts. He lowered his strikeout-to-walk ratio from 4.19 in 2013 to 2.95 in 2014.
Urias’ performance last season had some calling for his promotion to the Majors when active rosters expanded in September, however manager Don Mattingly believed that would have been premature and unfair to Urias’ growth and development.
For as talented and promising as Urias is, next season should be another spent in the Minors as he continues to refine his skills and builds on the success he’s experienced thus far. The Dodgers have handled him with care to this point, evident by Urias never pitching more than 6.0 innings in a game during his young career, and he’ll likely spend next season expanding on that.
Urias was one of 27 players the Dodgers invited for their Winter Development Camp and he’ll also be on hand for Spring Training as a non-roster invitee.