Julio Urias Scouting Report

Julio Urias Scouting Report

Julio Urias

AP

In only two years, Julio Urias has vaulted himself as the top left handed pitching prospect in baseball representing the Los Angeles Dodgers. In addition to that, he has youth on his side. Urias is a legitimate phenom having just turned 19 years old. In the midst of his second full minor league season, he is in line for a major league promotion.

The comparisons to former dodger left hander Fernando Valenzuela are easy to make, as both were young Dodgers prospects. However, Urias still has a lot to prove if he is to match the 17 successful seasons that Valenzuela had. Urias was dominating hitters as a teenager when scouts discovered his golden left arm out of the Mexican League, playing for Diablos Rojos del Mexico. Less then a year later he made his debut in Low A ball as the youngest player in the Midwest League at only 16 years old. He made 18 starts for the Quakes going 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA. Strict pitch counts limited him from going deep into games and racking up wins, but still he pitched 54.1 innings with 67 strikeouts to only 16 walks. That’s less than a walk per start, which is obviously impressive for a young pitcher. In 2014 he advanced to the hitter friendly Cal League in advanced A ball. Some regression would’ve been understandable, but he actually posted better numbers. He had a 2.36 ERA with an 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings, and held opponents to a .194 batting average. All of these would’ve been good for best in the league had he qualified, but again the Dodgers protected their young pitcher with pitch counts, thus limiting his innings to only 87.2. This season Urias’ season was interrupted by an eye condition that has affected him in his youth. His left eye is nearly closed, which would be more of a problem if he were a right-hander. In May he had elective surgery to correct the condition. He has returned to pitching, and dominated in his latest start in AA ball. Urias threw six innings of one run ball for the Tulsa Drillers. He scattered five hits while striking out eight and only walking one. That lowered his season ERA to 3.03 in 62.1 innings in his first taste of the upper minors.

What makes Urias so exciting is his advanced feel for pitching at such a young age. With a 2.9 walks per nine innings combined with a 10.9 strikeouts per nine over his minor league career, he has the polish of a college pitcher at 18 years of age. He does so with a three-pitch arsenal, and above average control of each pitch. His fastball ranges from 91-96 mph with life that he spots on both sides of the plate. He has a big breaking curveball that buckles hitters. His third pitch is a fading changeup that he also has a good feel for. Urias has even shown the ability to change arm angles and vary his speeds, much like a veteran would.

Julio Urias of the Los Angeles Dodgers Farm System

The Dodgers have their guy to slot in behind Clayton Kershaw. In baseball there is no thing as a “can’t miss prospect,” but Urias is a rare generational talent that is almost ready for the Hollywood spotlight. It’s going to be fun watching a teenager baffle grown men on the biggest stage. Given the state of the back of the Dodger rotation, expect no later than a September call-up for Urias, and in 2016 he will break camp on the Dodgers opening day roster.

photos courtesy of the AP

Read what the Dodgers Prospect experts say in our Dodgers Prospect Chat

The best left-handed pitching prospect in the game, Urias possesses plus or better stuff across the board. He can throw his lively fastball, which parks at 91-94 mph and reaches 97, for strikes on both sides of the plate. There's also some deception with Urias' heater, and opponents can't sit on it because he has such good feel for his big-breaking curveball and fading changeup.

MLB.com

...hailed by many as the top overall prospect in baseball. He has not disappointed at Triple-A Oklahoma City, posting a 4-1 record with a 1.10 ERA over eight outings (seven starts). He has thrown 41 innings.

ESPN

The fastball is easy velocity in the low-90’s, and he can punch with it in spurts in the 94-96 band when he wants a little extra. It’s fair to say his heater features a good bit of jump to it in additional to the raw velocity, as the ball consistently gets on hitters quickly and eludes barrel contact. He’ll show an advanced ability to manipulate movement and speed on the pitch already, with both cut and running variants featured heavily throughout a given start. It’s a 60-grade future pitch as things stand, and with even modest command refinement there’s another half-grade of projection there

Minor League Ball

The southpaw’s delivery is clean and efficient, with a consistent stride, good hip and trunk rotation, and fluid arm action. In general, he repeats his delivery well and stays in line with his target, and it in turn allows him to utilize a consistent release point. And for what Urias lacks in natural deception, he more than makes up for with his advanced control and feel for sequencing.

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