The Los Angeles Dodgers organization has built an impressive farm system over the past few years and one that has garnered plenty of attention. Aside from Joc Pederson and Corey Seager, one pitching prospect has stood out since the day he signed with the Dodgers at 16 years old, and that youngster is Julio Urias.
The Mexico native was named No. 10 on Baseball Prospectus’ list of top-101 Minor League prospects and he’s left memorable impressions on people from the the Dodgers organization to those from around the league. In his Spring Training debut on Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers, he gained a few more admirers.
One of the on-lookers at Friday’s game who sung Urias’ praises is Dodgers legend Fernando Valenzuela, via Lyle Spencer of Dodgers.com:
He was relaxed, nice and loose,” Valenzuela said. “He’s got a lot of confidence in himself. He has a good fastball with life and throws a nice curveball and changeup. He got ahead [in counts], but they didn’t chase. He looks like he can be something special.”
The lone teenager at Dodgers camp threw 1.2 innings over the third and fourth innings after replacing fellow prospect Zach Lee. Although Urias issued four walks, he also threw recorded strikeouts and gave up zero hits. Perhaps most notably, Urias retired Carlos Gomez to lead off the bottom of the fourth.
The young lefty has posted impressive numbers in the Minors thus far, including two consecutive seasons with a sub-3.00 ERA. In 87.2 innings pitched last season, he struck out 109 batters making for an impressive 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings. In 2013, which was Urias’ first year in the Minors, he pitched in Low-A and he was then promoted to High-A last season.
Following this trend, it seems likely that Urias will begin the 2015 season in Double A. He’s set a goal of reaching the Majors this season, but manager Don Mattingly recently stated he didn’t believe a Major League debut was in order this season. However, should Urias continue to dominate in the Minors, it may force the Dodgers to consider otherwise.
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