Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says the team is considering promoting one of baseball’s top prospects, lefty Julio Urias, to join its bullpen, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group tweets. “We’re looking through options and (Julio) Urias is definitely at the top of the list,” Hoornstra says. The team could also promote Jharel Cotton or Jose De Leon instead, however, as Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles times notes (also on Twitter).
Urias has been dominant in the rotation at Triple-A Oklahoma City this season even though he’s still just 19. The lefty has pitched 24 innings so far, posting a 1.88 ERA while whiffing 29 and walking just three. Via MLB.com, Urias rates as the second-best prospect in baseball. Heading into the season, Baseball America rated Urias fourth, while ESPN’s Keith Law rated him fifth. MLB.com notes that Urias throws in the 91-94 MPH range, can throw as hard as 97 MPH, has good secondary pitches, and could eventually become an ace.
Urias joined the Dodgers organization in 2012 and has rocketed through the minors since then, making stunningly quick work of the lower levels and reaching Triple-A in his age-18 season. He has a career 2.81 ERA, 10.7 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 and has spent almost his entire minor-league career as a starter, the role he figures to occupy in the big leagues over the long term.
Of course, the reason the Dodgers are considering promoting Urias right now is because they need help in their bullpen, as the team has struggled to find trustworthy relief help beyond closer Kenley Jansen. Promoting Urias to help in relief would allow him to limit his innings for the season and ease his transition to the big leagues. If they were to promote him and he were to stick, he would likely become eligible for arbitration after the 2018 season and for free agency after 2022.