It’s been a few years since a left-hander in the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system created a buzz like Julio Urias.
The last one to do so was Clayton Kershaw, who went from top prospect to top pitcher in all of baseball. Urias is a teenage sensation that was signed out of Mexico, and he has had strong numbers at all levels.
According to Mark Cooper of Tulsa World, the left-hander will begin the year in a higher league:
Just heard Drillers manager Razor Shines tell @BuzzTulsa that Julio Urias is likely to start the year in Tulsa. That'll be fun!
— Mark Cooper (@mark_cooperjr) January 26, 2015
Urias spent last season in High-A with the Ranco Cucamonga Quakes, where he had a 2.36 ERA in 87.2 innings as a 17-year-old. The Dodgers have been monitoring his innings since he began, and it will be no different this season. Urias will likely get some work as a reliever once his innings get too high this year.
The 18-year-old has often been compared to another Mexican pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Fernando Valenzuela. He discussed the comparison with Carlos Molina of MLB.com’s Spanish site (translated):
It’s nice to be compared to the best Mexican pitcher of all time, but my goal is to work hard to make my own name.”
Urias will be with the Dodgers this spring, along with fellow top prospect Corey Seager. It will be his first extended time with the big league club, although he did make an appearance last spring when he threw an inning against the San Diego Padres.
Reflecting on that inning, Urias talks about what that meant to him and said he expects to start the year in Double-A (translated):
That outing was special. It gave me a lot of confidence. I knew I just had to be myself, not try to do more than I’m capable of and thank God everything came out well.”
It may be a few years until Urias reaches the big leagues, but it appears that the Dodgers could have another special left-hander.