If you’re planning to go to the Dodgers and Mets game in Queens tomorrow, you’re in for a treat:
The Dodgers are expected to purchase on Friday the contract of LHP Julio Urias, who is scheduled to make his MLB debut Friday in New York.— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 26, 2016
And if you aren't planning on going, it's not too late to get tickets. Get thee to your favorite online ticket provider!
Urias is universally regarded as one of the best pitching prospects in the Majors. He’s 19 years old, left-handed, and throws in the mid-90s. He was signed as a free agent out of Mexico in 2013 and immediately made an impact in the Midwest League as a sixteen-year old. He has been exceptional since then as well, steadily climbing the ladder. In eight appearances at Oklahoma City in 2016, he has a 1.10 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 41 innings, with just two homers and eight walks in a great hitter’s environment.
He will be the 22nd teenager in the last 40 years to pitch in a Major League game, joining luminaries like Felix Hernandez, Madison Bumgarner, Fernando Valenzuela, Jose Rijo, Wilson Alvarez, Mike Morgan, and the patron saint of 19 year old pitchers Dwight Gooden. He will also join cautionary tales such as Rick Ankiel, Britt Burns, Todd Van Poppel, Edwin Jackson, Dylan Bundy, and the patron saint of 19 year old pitchers Dwight Gooden. If he stays up for the rest of the season, he'll join Gooden, Felix, and Morgan as the only teenagers to throw more than 80 innings in that time.
There is no doubt that Urias has the potential to be an ace, but the fact of the matter is that pitching in the majors is incredibly stressful, especially for someone whose arm is still developing. Dave Roberts, Farhan Zaidi, and Andrew Friedman will need to limit his work load and monitor him closely to prevent injury and limit pressure as much as possible. They will, though, because the Dodgers are an incredibly smart organization. Urias’s agent, Scott Boras, told Dylan Hernandez that he and the youngster are “aligned" with the Dodgers' braintrust on how he'll be used, which is hopefully a good sign. Indeed, if I were going to trust one organization with Urias’s development, it would probably be the one that produced Clayton Kershaw.
That isn’t to say that Urias is likely to be a star out of the gate. Even Kershaw posted a 4.26 ERA as a 20 year old in 2008. But introducing him to the league now will help him adjust as the season wears on.
Presumably, this move will shift Mike Bolsinger back to the bullpen, and then the Dodgers will have to make a corresponding move to add Urias to both the active and the 40 man rosters.