Let Julio Urias Pitch!

Julio Urias

Second year phenom Julio Urias has had a modest spring. He’s appeared in 4 games and has posted a 4.76 ERA while striking out 8 and posting a 1.2 WHIP in 5.2 innings tossed. Urias is just 20-years old and we hear every day how the Dodgers want to handle him with kid gloves. They are terrified of him blowing out his golden arm because of excessive innings.

So they’re likely to either place him in extended spring training during the month of April, or send him back to Oklahoma City. For the record Urias has never pitched more than 122 innings at any professional level. The young southpaw pitched 77 innings for the Dodgers at the major league level last year. He also logged 45 frames at Oklahoma City before he made his debut with the big club.

So the Dodgers will likely stash him somewhere until at least May. Meanwhile one of the walking wounded will take his place. Probably Brandon McCarthy, or Hyun-jin Ryu. The Dodgers also have Alex Wood and Scott Kazmir trying to work their way back from injuries. The likely choice is probably McCarthy. I have no idea why. He’s been utterly useless since signing a 48 million dollar contract back in the winter of 2014. The Dodgers are still desperately trying to squeeze any kind of production out of him despite it coming at the cost of Urias’s development.

My opinion is the best thing for all involved is to let Urias pitch somewhere. Whether that be with the Dodgers or at Oklahoma City. I would rather it be with the Dodgers of course, but as long as he is pitching in live games to live hitters then he won’t get rusty. I believe, (always have) that pitchers should pitch. The Atlanta Braves of the 1990’s with pitching coach Leo Mazzone had the same strategy. If you want to build a hurler’s arm strength and prepare him for the majors then the best thing to do is to you know, let him pitch.

The Dodgers are scared though. They are petrified that Urias will blow out his arm if allowed to pitch an entire season in the majors. At least that’s what they feel at this early stage in Urias’s career. I can certainly understand the desire to limit his innings, but holding him for more than a month in extended spring training doesn’t do him or the Dodgers any good.

It’s especially frustrating seeing his development last year. He was a bit raw when he first came up to the Dodgers, but started to figure things out. He got better as the season went along. You can contribute that to his natural abilities shining through with valuable on the job experience. You can’t get that in extended spring training.

Urias was 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA in the month of August last season. He then posted a 1.93 ERA in September as well. Overall he limited batters to an OPS of .699 in August, and .621 in September respectively. What a treat is was for us to watch this young prodigy develop before our very eyes. He’s growing up. He’s learning.

Just as important, the Dodgers need him. They need him because they have so many injury concerns in their starting rotation and pitching staff. Who would you rather see starting behind Rich Hill? Brandon McCarthy? Or Urias?

The Dodgers can still watch his pitch count and innings while still allowing him to pitch in the majors (preferably), or at Oklahoma City. Allowing the young star to atrophy in extended spring training does him no good. There is a huge difference between pitching in real games, and pitching in simulated games for an entire month or longer. Not only should the Dodgers consider Urias’s future, but the club’s as well.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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61 thoughts on “Let Julio Urias Pitch!

  1. I agree with you a Scott. Why not let him pitch 5 innings each game. Thirty starts, 150 innings. That should be doable. Have Stripling ready to finish the last 4 innings. This will allow both pitchers to stay sharp and pitching against major league hitters.

      1. That is why they are going to save the kid. They want him fresh the 2nd half. It would be like making a trade for a front line starter./

  2. It would appear that if he does throw 150 innings, and I don’t think that’s the plan, the last 20 or so will be in October. There are enough days in the long season to give him plenty of rest between starts and still let him pitch from April to November. I still say every Dodger starter could benefit from 5 days rest and there are enough of them ro do it. If there was ever a staff put together that was built for a 6 man rotation this is it. It’s not being talked about and I’ve yet to see an argument against it that makes sense.

    Another not so good day for Dodgers. 4 for 29 in SD game. I didn’t see it but Kershaw got lit while striking out 8 in 5. Didn’t get a pitch count.

    1. Kersh was right about 65 pitches. He was stretching himself out and not too worried about the 3 bombs, all of which were crushed. Pitcher had them out in front and hitting on top of the ball, so there were a lot of grounders. Gutierrez was the only one who really smashed one of the Seattle guys. For the anti-Puig bunch, he had two hits, although one was a bleeder, and made a perfect throw to the cut off man. As for Urias, I think they are doing what they feel is right. I personally think our staff is way too lefthanded. I like more balance in the rotation.

      1. Hope not. I ignored his last insult. We could use some new blood in here. Wish some of the old guys would come back.

        What did you think of that top 100 list?

        1. What list? I’m a sort of low level Dodger fan, I find people a lot more interesting than baseball players. I think most really ardent fans like yourself are want-to-bes, you never lost your desire to be a player. Most people are not very good players even when they are young, it’s easier for them to give it up and move on to other interests. Like me. I find that I am more suited for less physical pursuits, so baseball became a minor pleasure, just to watch or listen to, never to play or imagine that I had any special ability to organise or manage any area of it. And I know that what the fans think is of zero concern to management. So why bother???

          1. The list I just posted. No Dodgers in Top 10 on that one.

            Why bother? Good question. As I approach 70 my interests are going through some modifications. Why baseball? Because we are fans. For me baseball was one of the few things I was really good at. Short list actually. I played and coached on many levels into my 50’s but as the game evolves I’m slow to keep up. I know what I know, and I think it’s enough to keep me blog competitive. I know more than most, less than many. I do still love the Dodgers, but admittedly not as passionately as I usta did. So, that’s why.

          2. Jonah

            After I was in my car accident, I didn’t watch sports, like I did before.

            It wasn’t even a conscious choice, it just happened, because I like a lot of different things, and some of the people I was hanging out with at that time, wasn’t into sports.

            But after saying that, I do think it might have came from my sub conscious mind.

            I remember having dreams, right after my car accident when I was in the hospital, where my coach, wouldn’t put me into games.

            After my car accident, I couldn’t run like I could before, and some, would call my run, a limping run, when I tried to run.

            But I did ride an exercise bike, to be able to walk, without a limp.

            Because I had nerve damage, my doctor told me, if I strengthened the surrounding muscles, where I had nerve damage, I would be able to walk normally.

            So I road my excercise bike, for at least ten years, until I got ill, and I am back to riding again, for the last three years.

            People would look at me back then, and even now, and think, I never played sports.

            I think it is because I am so small, but I played basket ball, and softball, in high school and in college.

            I was even asked to play in the Olympic developmental league, in the summer, after my senior year.

            Cheryl Miller was on that team.

            But I did not watch sports, for a pretty long time, after that happened.

        2. Badger

          I haven’t heard to many remarks about trading Agone to have Bellinger take first base, lately.

          I think that is because Bellinger is not hitting as well, in spring training, like he did, last year.

          He has had a lot of strike outs, but like that prospect list said, he doesn’t have a lot of strike outs, in the minors, like Joc did.

          I haven’t been able to watch a lot of games, because the Dodger Channel, almost only has games on, on the weekends, so I can’t make a judgement about Bellinger.

          I had no idea he was hitting under 200, until I read a prospect report card, for spring training.

          But I did notice something on that prospect list about Bellinger, that reminded me, of something scouts said about Joc.

          It gave Bellinger more power, for non game situations, like scouts did to Joc.

          What was said about Joc, is that he had more power, in batting practice, when he went out of his way, to try to hit a HR, as compared, to real game situations.

          It doesn’t say that on that prospect list, but it is graded that way, with numbers.

          But I will say this, Bellinger seems to take the ball the other way, or up the middle, more then Joc does.

          I think Bellinger needs to prove he can hit AAA pitching first, until bringing him up, to the majors.

          We have to remember Joc hit 300 in AAA, and he has not hit close to that, in the majors yet.

    1. Badger

      I agree with you about Urias.

      I don’t like when they take a pitcher, to much out of there regular routine.

      And I don’t think we should waste any of his pitches, in AAA.

      Even with the Dodger treating him with kit gloves, it doesn’t insure he won’t get hurt.

      I rather he pitch into six or seventh inning, and start every week, or a little longer, if that is possible.

      He needs to have a major league umpire teaching him what the strike zone is, so Urias can learn how to keep his pitch count down, early in games.

      Because early in games, is where Urias often threw to many pitches.

      And with his agent he won’t be a Dodger long, so let’s get the best from him, in the years, he will be a Dodger.

      1. Good takes MJ.

        In looking at our staff, I think the point about him pitching with the big club is valid, though many of the projections I’ve seen don’t have him listed in starting 5. Some do. If it’s me I’m beginning the season with Kersahaw, Maeda, Hill, McCarthy, Wood, Urias. That’s right, 6 to start. If Kazmir and Ryu are ready by April 8th I might fit them in somehow. Stripling? I think he’s pitched 9 innings, 3 good ones yesterday. Is he good enough to throw in there? Does Wood have options left?

        Hill, Kazmir and McCarthy are not filling me with confidence at this point. We’re two weeks from OD. Time to get frosty. We need to see game faces on all our starters.

        If you had to pick 5 today, who are they?

        1. Badger

          I am not worried about Hill, because he had a terrible spring training, last year.

          I think Ryu needs to be built up more, to be able to be in the rotation, and to see if he is really ready, to pitch in the rotation.

          But I am rooting for Ryu.

          I think it will be McCarthy and Wood, at the bottom of the rotation, since Urias looks doubtful to pitch in the rotation, at the beginning, of the season.

          Wood doesn’t have any options left, I believe.

          Where are those other guys, have you talked to some of them?

          1. Wood does have options. Hatcher does not, so I wish they would just release him. Hill is 38 years old. He has been through this all before so I am not worried about a bad spring. He is obviously working on things. But do I trust him to be healthy all year? No way. I think re-signing the guy was a mistake, and the only way I change my mind on that is 30 plus starts and 15 plus wins. Ryu I look at for maybe a June return. Maybe late May. I have no faith in McCarthy, but right now he is a better option than Kazmir. Stripling likely makes the team as the long man. If they go with 3 lefty’s in the pen, which I doubt Avilan will make the team. Jansen, Romo, Dayton, possibly Morrow since Baez has yet to throw, Liberatore, Hatcher, and Fields in the pen…

  3. Badger: “Where is everybody? Lots to talk about today.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2017-top-100-prospects/

    Yes, very interesting!! Following is a couple guys that stood out. First guy was one of five guys traded to Phils for Hamels. We all know the second guy.

    32. Jorge Alfaro, C, Philadelphia Phillies
    Scouting Summary
    Arguably the most physically gifted catching prospect of this century, Alfaro has plus-plus raw power, elite arm strength and rare straight-line speed for a catcher.

    44. Jose DeLeon, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
    Scouting Summary
    Yet another fastball/changeup/command arm in Tampa, DeLeon’s ceiling is capped by a lack of an impact breaking ball and potentially by a fastball some view as flat and relatively easy to hit in the air.

    Very hard to believe that some posters get their info from Bartender Molly Knight.

    Texas gives up FIVE prospects, including three who immediately become the Phil’s 2, 3 and 4th best prospects. And then add in 25 yr old Jerad Eickhoff who threw 197 IP of 3.65 ERA ball in 2016. But a cute bartender says that DeLeon and VAN SLYKE would have got it done and some guys actually believe that. Stop and THINK.

    Again, I can see Molly is cute, but use the big head fellas!

    1. Wood may have options, but he isn’t going down to AAA, he has been a major league pitcher, for a while now.

      He is probably in the rotation.

      And Avilan has no options left, and he has pitched well, so he will make the bullpen for sure.

      Some are saying they are going to hang on to Hatcher, until Baez is ready.

      I don’t know if that will happen, but they have hung on to Hatcher for longer then they should, so I wouldn’t be suprised if they kept him.

      I like Libertore, and I think he deserves to be in the pen, but he has had to go down to AAA before, because he has options.

      But I wouldn’t do that.

  4. jonah: “Maybe Catbox will come out to play with you…”

    No, you do it “jackoff”. It would be better for you, if you didn’t spend so much time by yourself!!!

  5. Interesting article on Dodgerblue about the Dodgers being players when Jake Arrieta becomes a free agent next year. He would fit nicely. Baseball for me has always been a passion. Now I follow only the Dodgers and the trades. I am old school, so some of the tweaks and rule changes chaff me sometimes. I think the new intentional walk rule is asinine. Replay, I am learning to live with especially when it overturns a call that was totally wrong. Roberts has been pretty good at using it wisely. I think the National League should finally cross over to the Dark Side and utilize the DH. With what they have to pay pitchers now days, I would rather see hitters up there in clutch situations. More offense means more excitement. It also would mean that pitchers would really have to have their head in the game and be more precise in their game plan. I also think they should do what basketball does, and have maybe a 3 man taxi squad who can be activated day to day. Or just expand the roster to 28 players. The union would love that, and it gives the manager more flexibility when you have players who are dinged up. I am not worried about Bellinger. Everyone was talking out of their heads when they kept insisting the guy was MLB ready with only a half a year of AAA time under his belt. Next year, who knows. He might be a ROY candidate. They are doing what they think is best for Urias, and I am going to defer to their superior knowledge of his status.

    1. Arrieta is an interesting thought. He will be 32 next year, which is 2 years the wrong side of 30, but if anyone could pitch effectively for 5 more years after that birthday it might be him.

      I’m on the fence with these rule changes. I find that I really don’t care one way or the other. I’ve also vacillated about how to get more offense, as that seems to be what the people want. Shrink the strike zone, lower the mound, allow bats to be altered, shorten fences, etc. Pitchers don’t appear to be capable of “finishing in a filelding position” so jacking the bats is out. Have to protect those $30 million investments. Lowering the mound and shrinking the strike zone would put more balls in play and more men on base. But walks aren’t sexy. We want action a postage stamp strike zone won’t get it done. That leaves us with lowering the mound.

      The shift. How to beat it. Bunt dammit.

    2. Michael, you bring up a couple of things that contribute to my present disenchantment with baseball, the DH and an enhanced roster. Is there even one little reason why it makes more sense to make a farce of the DL instead of a 28 man roster? No, baseball refuses to approve the DH in the National League and increase the roster size to 28 men for one reason only: The players want it. And it would cost very little, less than $2MM a year because we are talking fringe players here, players who otherwise would be in AAA. At some point the public is going to figure out just how little baseball gives a damn about them, and quit buying tickets and cable fees. I’m already there.

      1. I know the feeling. I when I travel to LA to visit family have quit going to Dodger Stadium for a couple of reasons. The cost of attending being the main reason, the traffic, rudeness of some of the attendees, and the fact that even though I love the game, it just is not as fun as it once was. Instead my sis and I have taken to making the trip out to Rancho Cucamonga to watch the Dodgers A team the Quakes. You can get a seat behind home plate for 13 bucks, the garlic fries that cost 9 bucks at Dodger Stadium are 5 and to me actually taste better. The baseball itself, though not a crisp as a big league game, is entertaining and you see some of the Dodgers kids in their early development. Last year the game we went to was started by Sborz. Saw Rios and a couple of the other kids play then too.

  6. Another blah article. This one a consummate “hot take.”

    Nobody is complaining about Urias’ usage. Not him, not the team, not the agent, not even the majority of fans or writers.

    But let’s create a controversy!

    Yay.

    I like the list Badger posted, interesting that Mitchell White didn’t make it.

    Continuing the good news of this list, Baseball America ranked the systems for players under 25. The Cubs and Dodgers were tied at the top. More or less. Maybe a slight edge to the Cubbies. With the Red Sox in 3rd. I think.

    1. Oh you’ll complain when McCarthy is stinking it up in the Major League rotation and Urias is wasting away at extended spring training. It won’t be pretty to watch either. Nobody is “creating controversy” I am just expressing my opinion on what I think is best for Urias’s development, and sitting in extended spring training NOT pitching in live games does him no good. And it does the club no good. You can limit his innings while he’s pitching live games.

        1. “For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate. In order to learn you need an open mind. In order to win baseball games you need a strong starting rotation.” Badgerdamus

          The first part of that might have plagiarized, so, consider that when you respond. I’m prepared to use the “I read it somewhere” defense.

          Maybe I should wait another week before figuring this out but in looking at the stats I see a lot of pitchers with innings pitched, but not many pitchers with a lot of innings pitched. I think that’s right…. yeah, that’s right. Kershaw has started 5, Maeda 4, Hill 4, and McCarthy 3, so as of now there’s your first 4. None of them have all that many innings pitched. Who’s #5? I got Wood. Wait….. that doesn’t sound right….. I think Alex Wood is my current pick for 5th in the rotation.

          What is the typical number of innings a starter would want to have accumulated going into the first game of the season? I’ve never really thought about it. 25? Kershaw has 15. Bumgarner has 16, Sale 10. But then, those guys it doesn’t really matter. Our guys, I think it does. Kazmir? Ryu? McCarthy? Wood? Mitchell White? Show me something.

      1. Scott,

        My point is it’s your opinion uncorroborated by anyone else including the team, the player, the coaches and the fans.

        Their strategy does the club no good??!??!?

        How does ensuring the best long term value out of an outstanding LHSP not qualify as doing “good.”

        Short term thinking rarely leads to success on any horizon (short, medium or long)

        1. Bluto,

          He could pitch 80 innings and still blow out his arm. There are isntances of young pitchers blowing their arms out in their first mlb seasons despite pitching less than 100 innings (think Strasburg). Nobody is asking him to pitch 200 frames. But in order for him to develop properly he needs to be pitching regularly in live games. That’s how arm strength is built.

          You can still limit innings and let him pitch regularly.

          1. Scott, I’m with you on this one except i think wasting innings in OKC is stupid. There is nothing more for him to learn at AAA. From what I’ve read somewhere between 150-170 is the limit this year. Zaidi said if he exceeds expectations like last year they will let him throw more.

            They could let the kid pitch and occasionally skip a start when they have a day off or give him a mysterious trip to the 10-day DL once or twice. I’d keep him on a strict pitch count early in the season and get him sometime off. However, the problem with my plan is that they can’t count on Maeda to throw every five days. Also, they have to increase the value of Wood, McCarthy, and Ryu if they want to move one of them. Kazmir is a sunk cost in my opinion. So, while I don’t think it is neccesarily the best thing to do with Urias, I get it. Honestly, this is happening because they botched his innings management two years ago.

          2. Like I’ve said before, “maybe the guy only has X amount of pitches in his arm…
            Let’s not waste them on anything except winning games for the Dodgers”

      1. Hatcher reminds me of Hillary, certain people won’t admit that they picked a LOSER
        Not exactly what you would call “A Winner, Creme de la creme, Cream of the crop”

  7. Spirited debate. A learning opportunity.

    If he’s only going to pitch, say, 24 starts, pushing 140 innings, don’t we want those innings late, rather than early. “Extended Spring Training” sounds like a lot of work to me. He can have his routine, get and stay in game shape, and have many of those starts in the last 6 months, rather than the first 6 months.

    As for the topic of discussion, I have no problem with Scott’s opinion. It’s an opinion, he’s entitled to it. My response to the gist, Urias WILL pitch. And with some good fortune he will be pitching, and pitching well, down the stretch and into the playoffs.

  8. I am not in the least impressed with Jose Miguel Fernandez, and cannot comprehend how the FO could possibly like this guy. He is not all that great a fielder, and from what I have seen, the bat is a foreign object to him. Lots to like about today’s game and a couple of sour spots, one being Chris Hatcher who once again showcased his inability to get anyone out, major league player or otherwise. 4 home runs and 8 extra base hits total. Nice numbers. Segedin impressed again, and Chase Utley looked good.

        1. Could not even make it out of his supposed 1 inning of work…his line…..2/3 of an inning. 3 hits, 4 runs, only 1 was earned. 1 strikeout. And that was against mostly minor leaguers. Strange factoid from today’s game…Dodgers hit 4 homers, all 4 of the players who hit homers connected for their 2nd HR’s of the spring! Segedin, Wilson, Eibner and Sweeney. Ethier and Utley had 2 knocks apiece. Utley scored 3 runs. Hatcher’s spring ERA is now 10.50. I like this kid Schuster…..he has some nasty stuff….

          1. Thanks Michael

            I saw he gave up those runs, but, I expected that he gave up a HR.

            But it was probably worse, because he couldn’t get hitter, after hitter.

  9. We lost a rock and roll icon today. Chuck Berry dead at the age of 90…….RIP Chuck…..give you 3 guesses what my favorite CB song is, bet you miss…

      1. Nope….missed by a mile…my all time favorite Chuck Berry tune is………..wait for it……My Ding a Ling! Great tune and funny when he gets the audience into it……….Mac Davis’s It’s Hard to be Humble is up there too….2nd favorite would be Roll Over Beethoven.

  10. I agree with the general premise of the article
    1 – Urias is on of the Dodgers’ best 4 pitchers so he should pitch
    2 – He won’t be sitting on his butt somewhere if he doesn’t make the team out of spring training – he will be throwing pitches somewhere
    3 – If he is going to throw pitches he should be doing it for the Dodgers
    4 – I REALLY don’t want to see the likes of McCarthy or Kazmir stinking it up every 5 days. I would rather see Urias
    5 – They can still be careful with Urias’ workload. He can be stashed on the new 10 day disabled list a time or 2 during the season or they can limit his innings during his starts

    1. Here in lies the problem and the rub. I agree with your evaluation that he is one of the Dodgers best 4. No question there……BUT…..Kazmir and McCarthy are making HUGE bucks to pitch, and are virtually UNTRADEABLE. So, the Dodgers are not going to pay those huge salary’s for those 2 slugs to come out of the bull pen. But they would have to pay for both if injured, and with Kazmir that seems to be the case. I would bet he starts the season on the DL. Do not count out Ryu either. He is pitching Tuesday. This outing will go a long way in telling the FO how close he is to being ready to pitch full time. He has been really sharp his last two times out. Wood pitched pretty good against the Pads on Friday, so I would say that right now as it stands today, the rotation going into the season will be, CK, Maeda, Hill, McCarthy and Wood. Those guys are pretty much ready now. And they can use the 10 day DL if McCarthy needs a blow, or Hill. Stripling has no chance as a starter, and is iffy as the long man. Oaks Stewart, and Urias will be at OKC. Interesting blurb on Dodgerblue said that Walker Buehler might be starting one of the Freeway series games against the Angels. USA 4 DR 2 in the 5th inning….

      1. Heck, Buehler and Alvarez might be in the best 5 after Kershaw. We’re holding our breath on Kazmir, McCarthy and Ryu. Frankly I’m holding my breath on all of them, even Kershaw. His back gonna hold up? Maeda did very well last year for a a guy pitching more often than he ever had and pitching with a tender elbow. Ryu? Gulp. Hill? Really, do we expect him at 37 to do something he hasn’t done in a decade? Some do. I don’t. We had 15 different pitchers start games for us last year. We had more starters pitch fewer innings than any team in baseball. Will that happen again? Well, looking at this staff I think it certainly could. It’s going to take some bewitching thaumaturgy from kinesiologistic magicians to hold this particular staff together. It might be helpful if as a group we light some candles and do some chants in a noetic effort to help our wangateurs do there thing for an entire year.

  11. I also agree with Scott and Dodgerrick that I’d prefer Urias pitching 4-5 innings every 5 to 6 days, and mix in a Stewart or Stripling start here, plus a 10 day DL there, etc.

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