Julio Urias has only been in the majors for one season but he is already developing one heck of a pickoff move. Not surprising considering he is teammates with Clayton Kershaw who has one of the best pick-off moves in the game. Kershaw is one of the MLB leaders with 57 pick-offs. He’s had as many as 11 in one season. Oddly he hasn’t had any this year.
Urias and Kershaw are both left handers and I wouldn’t be shocked to hear that Kershaw has taught him some of the secrets of the deceptive trick to catch base runners napping. The pick-off move is an added arsenal in the pitcher’s bag. Urias recorded his sixth pick-off this year in the second inning of the Dodger’s 3-0 loss to the Yankees. Here he catches Starlin Castro off guard. The first base umpire originally ruled him safe, but the Dodgers challenged and the call was overturned. Check it out below.
Of course who could forget that game against the Brewers where Urias picked off Jonathan Villar not once, but twice. The first one was overturned by instant replay. So Urias just threw over there again and got him on the second try.
Urias leads the majors with his six pick-offs. He’s already becoming a master of this lost art. There are many who still believe that left handers walk a fine line between balking and deceiving the base runner when they pick-off a runner. They face the base runner at first base and there will always be a grey area.
Generally a base runner will have to look for subtle clues as to whether a left hander is coming to the plate or throwing to first. A lift of the leg, a knee buckle, or perhaps even a small movement. You don’t have to have an expert level pick-off move to succeed as a major league pitcher. Look at Jon Lester as an example. It definitely doesn’t hurt though.
Every out helps and having a great pick-off move Will help the club get additional outs. Urias has certainly developed a dandy. I think Kershaw is rubbing off on him more than we know.
2 thoughts on “Julio Urias Has One Heck of a Pickoff Move”
I love pick offs. A lost art. I don’t think Lester ever goes to first base. For Urias, it is an added weapon, but he he putting too many guys on first, either hits or walks. Leading to high pitch counts. Almost all of his starts have been this way. To his credit, not many of the base runners score, but still high pitch counts get you out of the game too soon. I still think he pitches out of control most of the time. DeLeon has better balance. But we can’t blame Urias for the loss last night. Maybe Stripling. Is our team a home run or bust group? Bad strategy. He who lives by it usually dies by it.
For that matter Kershaw has a fair to middlin pick off move. Dodgers hitters only do well vs right handed power pitchers. Rights who throw off speed stuff and lefts in general seem to stupefy the Dodger hitters. Not sure that’s gonna work too well for them going ahead this season.