Five reasons you need to tune in to top Dodgers prospect Julio Urias' MLB debut
The 2015 season brought us the Year of the Rookie, a bounty of riches featuring more mind-blowing debuts than we could stand: Kris Bryant's glorious dingers, Carlos Correa's all-around awesomeness, Francisco Lindor's defensive wizardry. With all of that talent making its way to the Majors, you might assume that there would be a little lull in the prospect pipeline in 2016.
And you would be right ... in a parallel universe in which the Dodgers didn't exist. Less than a year after first unleashing shortstop superhero Corey Seager on the world, L.A. announced on Thursday that his pitching counterpart was right behind him:
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
Do a dance, bring sacrifices unto the altars of the Baseball Gods, and remember to breathe: 19-year-old Julio Urias -- MLB Pipeline's No. 2 prospect (and top-ranked lefty) -- is set to make his MLB debut on Friday against the Mets. It's must-see TV, and to help prepare you for this momentous occasion, we've got everything you need to know about the Mexican phenom.
(And don't forget that Friday's matchup is an MLB Network Showcase game, available for free on MLB.TV and featuring MLB Plus -- MLB.com's data-driven online broadcasts that combine Statcast with analytical elements to bring you an in-depth discussion of the action on the field and the big picture.)
1. He's incredibly, incredibly good
Urias has been one of the most prized prospects in baseball ever since the Dodgers purchased him from the Mexican League in 2012 (yes, he was dominating the Mexican League as a 15-year-old). And for good reason: With a fastball that can touch 97 mph, a wicked curveball and a solid changeup, he's got a remarkably complete arsenal.
Unsurprisingly, Urias rocketed through the Minors, excelling at every level. What he's done in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League this season, however, is beyond human understanding. In arguably the most offense-happy league in MiLB, all Urias has done is put up his best Sandy Koufax impression: Seven starts, a 1.10 ERA and just 24 hits in 41 innings. Oh, and he threw six no-hit innings against the New Orleans Zephyrs a few weeks ago:
2. He's a strikeout artist
As you might have gathered from the above clip, to say Urias has "strikeout stuff" would be the understatement of the 21st century. In 261 1/3 Minor League innings, the lefty has racked up 308 (!) Ks -- including 44 in 41 innings this year. And lest you think that might not translate to the Majors, allow us to present his performance against the Angels in Spring Training this year:
3. He's impossibly young
Ah, the summer of 1996. Bill Clinton was pursuing a second term in the White House. The nation's children were eating Dunkaroos. Bill Paxton was leading us to victory against the alien scourge. And Julio Urias had just been born. Urias won't turn 20 until August, but he's used to being the kid of the group: He first started traveling with the Mexican national team at age 10, and he's dominated the PCL this season despite the fact that he's eight years younger than the average Triple-A player.
On Friday, he'll become just the 22nd teenager in the last 40 years to pitch in a big league game. Some notable names on that list: Felix Hernandez, Madison Bumgarner, Fernando Valenzuela and Doc Gooden.
4. He's got the approval of Sandy Koufax
We mentioned that Urias has been doing his best Sandy Koufax impression, and while comparing anyone to the Left Arm of God is unfair, Koufax himself thinks the young lefty has what it takes to be special:
While working with the Dodgers in Spring Training last year, Koufax had only good things to say about Urias:
5. Most importantly, he has outstanding taste in hats
Now that you've learned all about Urias on the mound, it's time to get to what really matters: fashion. More specifically, hat fashion, which Urias has apparently already mastered (Urias is the third in from the left, in the purple shirt):
He might need some time to adjust to big league hitters, but his 80-grade headwear will play immediately.