Minor league pitcher Julio Urias is regarded as one of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ top prospects. The 18-year-old phenom had a 2-2 record with a 2.36 ERA over 87.2 innings pitched this season for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.
Urias recorded 109 strikeouts and walked 37 batters during his 2014 Minor League campaign. He also pitched a scoreless inning as the youngest player to ever participate in the All-Star Futures Game. Last season, for Low-A Great Lakes Urias went 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA over 54.1 innings of work.
According to Pedro Moura of the OC Register, Dodgers minor league instructor Juan Castro spoke about the comparison between the Mexican-born Urias and Dodgers pitching legend Fernando Valenzuela:
I’m getting goosebumps,” he says. “You know he’s a Dodger. You know he’s a lefty. You know he’s from Mexico. And I bet you a lot of the Mexican people are waiting for another Fernando.”
Valenzuela was a six-time All-Star, a World Series Champion, National League Cy Young Award winner, NL Rookie of the Year, Gold Glove Award winner and a two-time Silver Slugger. The left-hander posted a 3.54 ERA and recorded 2,074 career strikeouts over 17 seasons.
Another comparison between the two pitchers is that Valenzuela made his Major League debut at age 19 while Urias is currently 18 years old. Also, they are from towns four hours apart in distance in northwest Mexico.
Though Castro acknowledged there will never be another Valenzuela, he thinks Urias can be the closest thing in comparison:
Fernandomania’s not gonna happen ever again,” Castro said. “But people want to see somebody similar, and I think this kid can be someone special like that.”
Manager Don Mattingly already said Urias won’t be called up to the Majors prematurely. However, it may not be long until Urias is pitching on a major league mound as he’s considered by some Major League ready.
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