One of the biggest questions for the 2019 Los Angeles Dodgers will be what role that Julio Urias will fill on the pitching staff. Urias excited Dodgers fans when he made his sparkling return to the big leagues – closing out a scoreless frame in St. Louis with a strikeout.
Urias went on to throw three innings total in the regular season without allowing a run. Then, he threw 6.1 innings in the postseason, including three appearances in the World Series. Nevertheless, he will be entering just his age-22 season.
With the sky-is-the-limit ceiling Urias appears to still have, what should be his role on the 2019 Dodgers?
How Dave Roberts and Andrew Friedman View Julio Urias’ 2019 Role
Urias threw a scoreless inning in the Dodgers’ 4-2 loss of game two of the World Series. Then, Dave Roberts was asked about a Urias return to the starting rotation.
“I don’t see him in this role for 2019,” Roberts said. “I think that he’s a starting pitcher. And so our goal is to build him up as a starter, to help us on this club at some point next year.”
Andrew Friedman wasn’t as committal – but such is the life of a general manager. You are pragmatic, and you keep all options on the table so not to box out any possibility that may leave you with future lines in the water.
“I do think that he will impact our 2019 team,” Friedman said. “When, I don’t know right now.”
Credit to Friedman for being honest and not coy in his response. However, much weight should be carried with the comment of the manager. Friedman has stated several times that while suggestions might be made to Roberts on lineup and rotation decisions – the final rule is his and his alone.
For that reasoning, this is a swing in the pendulum that should indicate Urias adding a good workload on top of his career 104 innings in the big leagues in 2019.
How Dodgers Fans View Julio Urias’ 2019 Role
We recently posed the question on our twitter account to our fan base. It was interesting to see the responses – and there was no singular answer that took on a voice in regards to Urias’ future.
With how crowded their rotation is and him still working his way back from injury, I don't think it's that crazy to say he'll be in the pen or a spot starter.
— Blake (@BlakeW47) November 13, 2018
20 starts, 5-6 inings maybe, some bullpen.. then starts in playoff
— Enrique Paredes (@eparedesr) November 14, 2018
Urias in 2019:
1. Not on DL.
2. Backup Closer. Somebody has to be the next Jansen. But keep him active! He can take more than one inning a week. Come on.
— Pacificrk (@pacificrk) November 13, 2018
Hoping he'll progress into a spot in the starting rotation.
— Frank Lopez ?? (@BeisbolFrank) November 13, 2018
Start him off slow, build him up back to a starter by 2nd half. I believe he then forces their hand much like Buehler did where they can’t remove him
— onthegrillwithgil (@onthegrillwgil) November 13, 2018
I see him starting off in AAA so they can limit his innings, but can I see a early summer call up where he holds down a 4 or 5 rotation spot for the rest of the year. If a spot in the rotation is not available (most likely there will be) he can always be a good long man
— Matt Biks ?? (@MattBiks) November 13, 2018
As evidenced, many fans feel that a return to the rotation at some point is imminent. However, there are enough smart folks that follow this team who believe that Urias should be eased into that role. One can see the conundrum that the organization will face when the 2019 season begins. There is no correct or apparent answer at this time.
The thought of pushing the gas and getting around 400 combined innings from Walker Buehler and Julio Urias excites me. Here you have two of the top young arm talents in the game – one left-handed – at your disposal from day one in the new year. This is on top of Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill. Indeed, one should see one of the most primary points for optimism right here.
The Dodgers have a luxury with their wealth of starters to ease Urias back into a starting role. The Dodgers will have an eye on his control – he walked over five hitters per nine innings pitched in 2017 before injury. With the high-octane velocity that Urias was showing at the tail-end of 2018, perhaps once his control looks up to speed you make the move to insert him in the rotation.
Until then, we have the fond memories of his strong return and in the postseason to fuel our fantasies.
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