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.
Boom! I don’t want them to waste any of those precious Urías innings in the minors. https://t.co/TrD7qM1L3d
— Tim Rogers (SD Dodger) (@SDDodger) February 21, 2019
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
“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.
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.
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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