Back in the Majors
We at Dodgers Nation have been covering the rehabilitation of Julio Urías quite extensively. See a sampling of our articles here, here, here and here. The evolution since his first rehab start in Rancho Cucamonga that I witnessed in early August has been quite a roller coaster ride. During most of the rehab starts he would start with 88-90 MPH four-seam fastballs then start gathering velocity, sometimes topping out at 94-95 MPH. His last two outings for Oklahoma City were a bit shaky but he was called up in early September anyway.
His first appearance was against St. Louis in a runaway Dodgers win. He threw 12 pitches, 9 of which were strikes and retired the side in order. That was extremely encouraging for the fans and it was a good sign that his control was his best yet.
Against the Padres, in the last game of the year, Urías was called upon in the 8th inning of another runaway. He struck out the side in his first inning of work as he topped out at 91 MPH to the first batter then kicked it up to 94 MPH when striking out the second batter. It was the third batter, Will Myers, that kind of blew up #DodgersTwitter (do a simple Twitter search for “Urías 97”) for a bit. After a long at bat and 9 pitches he struck Myers out on a 96.8 MPH fastball.
Julio Urias just struck out the side in his first inning at Dodger Stadium since May 2017. His last pitch was 97. Whoa.
— Joe Davis (@Joe_Davis) September 23, 2018
With that excitement, I believe most of us thought Urías was done for the game but he hit for himself in the bottom of the 8th. In the 9th the velocity of the four-seam fastball was back down to 92 MPH but ended up finishing the game on a 95 MPH strikeout of Franciso Mejía. All in all, Urías finished up with 2 innings pitched, giving up 1 hit and striking out 4. He also threw 29 pitches, 22 of them for strikes! According to Baseball Savant he had 7 swinging strikes out of his 29 pitches. A big thanks to David Adler for the following information:
you can see his usage / velo / results here, for instance: https://t.co/YMkDbMSKXM
— David Adler (@_dadler) September 24, 2018
While there is much to be excited about for his two Major League appearances, there needs to be some caution. As Greg Bergman spoke about in the post-game Dodgers Nation show and we spoke about via Twitter, the question of how much rest Urías needs in between appearances has not been answered. The playoff format is usually 2 days on, 1 day off, 3 days on, 1 day off and 2 days on. The team cannot have a reliever that needs more than a single day rest on the playoff roster. It will be interesting to see if Dave Roberts will use him soon to find out how much rest he needs between appearances.
Let’s see how much rest he needs. Personally my favorite player.
— Tim Rogers (SD Dodger) (@SDDodger) September 23, 2018
The other major caution is that he’s only pitched in two runaway games. Again it will be interesting if Doc uses him in a higher leverage appearance. I’d like to see it. Urías, in my opinion, has the calmness for the high leverage situation and looks like he has the stuff for it. He has four above-average pitches; four-seam fastball, slider, changeup and a curveball. That pitch mix for a reliever could be devastating.
Despite my serious fandom of Julio Urías, I doubt he makes the playoff roster (please surprise me). The good news is Urías is closer to back to normal and should be ready to be a key contributor as a starter in 2019. He has many things on his side, his age, the pitch variety, and now, it looks like, his health. For us Dodgers fans, this is worth celebrating.
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