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Dodgers: Julio Urías Should Not Throw One Pitch In The Minors In 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26: Julio Urias #7 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers the pitch during the seventeenth inning against the Boston Red Sox in Game Three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 26, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

In seeing reports about Julio Urías throwing well in bullpens, it triggered in my mind that the Dodgers should not waste one pitching of his in the minor leagues. @LAtweets22 tweeted an article out and wrote about the Dodgers 1-2 punch of Urías and Walker Buehler and how those guys are another reason why the Dodgers will be better in 2019. I thought about what she said and remembered how the Dodgers handled Urias in the 2017 season.

 Handling Urias in 2017

He’d thrown 122 innings in 2016 and threw even more in the post-season. So in 2017, the Dodgers wanted to limit Urías’s innings. In Spring Training that season he only threw 8.1 innings to prepare the season as the Dodgers were trying to slowly build him up for the season. They sent him to the minors to start the season and he ended up throwing 14 innings in April before being called up to the Dodgers on April 27. He struggled a bit with his control and was sent back to AAA on May 21. He soon suffered his shoulder injury that sidelined him through the 2017 season and into late July 2018. Honestly, I didn’t like the way they started him slowly. All of a sudden they needed him and he was up in the Majors by April and wasn’t ready.

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The 2019 Version Of Limiting Urías

We do know that the Dodgers are concerned about his workload in 2019 but he’s already throwing bullpens at full speed. As Clint Evans reported:

“I think with Julio we certainly see him as a starter, and he’s had a different unique sort of path. Given the injury piece, his path has been a little bit different. Standing right here as of today, we see him as a starter. With the workload he’s had the last couple of years, we have to be mindful of that. So he’s not a full-go yet.” – Dave Roberts

As of now, we have not seen a plan by the Dodgers for Urías. My fear is that they send him to the minors (like 2017) to get some short starts to limit his innings then build him up for the season. In my mind, Urías is one of the best pitchers on the staff and, to waste one pitch of his in the minors (except, heaven forbid, if he needs rehab work) is almost criminal.

BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 23: Julio Urias #7 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during Game 1 of the 2018 World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

How I’d Handle Urías

First and foremost there should be an innings limit that includes post-season and I’m setting it at 140. The Dodgers will continue to find ways to manipulate the 10-day Injured List (IL) and they have plenty of candidates in the minors for the pitching staff. I am also assuming 5 starters and 8 relievers for most of the season, as they’ve done the last two years. He should make the team out of Spring Training as he’s easily one of the best pitchers on the team even with an innings limit. My goal would be to have him ready to be a starter in the playoffs, so take away 25 innings right off the top.

First Half of 2019

We now have 115 innings to work with during the regular season. The Dodgers starting pitching will have plenty of guys that should not be pushed at the beginning of the season, so I’d pair up Julio with one of them. I’d think pairing him up with Kenta Maeda would be a good combination as they are very different pitchers. Kenta would go 5-6 then have Urías go 2-3 innings. He’d not throw any other innings except in an emergency but if they continue this through the first half of the season he’s around 40 innings. That leaves 85 innings for the 2nd half.

Second Half of 2019

For the 2nd half I’m positive he’d be ready for a starting spot. In the 2nd half he’d get around 15 starts and could average 5.2 innings per start and stay under the 85 innings in the second half. Even within those starts I’d try to keep his first few starts at 3-5 innings to build him up. Pair him up with Maeda or Stripling for those first few starts. By the end of the season he should be able to go 6-7 innings.

Here’s how the breakdown would look:

  • April-June: 2-3 IPs in relief with max of 45-50 pitches (total of 40 innings)
  • July: 3-5 IPs as a starter with a max of 60-70 pitches (total of 20 innings)
  • August-September: 5-7 IPs as a starter with a max of 85-100 pitches (total of 55 innings)
  • Post-season: 25 innings

This gives us 140 innings of Julio Urías at the Major League level in 2019.

Final Thoughts

Julio Urías is a special pitcher who has had a major shoulder injury. He seems healed as he’s already throwing in the mid-90s (per Orel Hershiser) in Spring Training after topping out at 97 MPH in 2018. Given the injury, it makes sense to limit his innings but he is ready and eager to pitch. There is no way I’d waste one pitch of his in the minors in 2019. He is a major league pitcher with elite stuff.

“He seems like he’s really polished for a young kid. Mechanically, he’s sound,” Martin said. “What I recognized is he either hits the spot or if he misses he’s missing around the target, so he’s really consistent with his lanes. Never any big misses–which is unusual. Usually, young kids are still learning their bodies, still learning mechanics.”– Russell Martin via Dodgers Insider

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Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

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  1. I like your thinking. I just think there’s a lot that could go wrong, and it’s too right of a plan. But if if it went as you envision it would be great. More likely is he is a starter at AAA going 5 innings every 6 days and is not called up until the 2nd half only if needed to start. If he’s not needed to start then he’s called up in Sept as a reliever. This also adds a yr of team control, like it or not.
    Then next yr when Hill and Ryu are gone he starts the season as a starter along a Kershaw, ZIegler and Maeda

  2. Keep forgetting that he is only 22, but he has yet to prove he is a big league starter. Has to improve his control for one thing. If he is good enough to make the roster why in the world would they send him down? Can limit his innings in la just as well as in the minors. They’ve been babing him for 5 years and look how that has worked out. Let’s find out if he is a pitcher sooner than later. We’ll keep babying him till he is a free agent and end up a yankee.

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