The day many Dodger fans have been waiting for, as their newest pitching phenom is set to make his major league debut in hostile territory.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out when Julio Urias would make his first major league start. Most of the time, I assumed the Dodgers would ease him into a start, at home, against a weak-hitting team.
The tweet preceding this was slightly less happy, as it was announced Alex Wood was scratched with tricep soreness. Why focus on the negative.
URIAS! If you’ve been living under a rock, Urias is the Dodgers’ top prospect (now that Corey Seager has graduated), the second-best prospect in all of baseball (behind Washington’s Lucas Giolito) and the best left-handed pitching prospect according to MLB.com. He’s also 19.
Urias will make his major league debut in New York against the Mets, who have the third-best record in the NL. It will also be the first regular season game for the Dodgers in New York since Chase Utley‘s infamous slide, and unlike last postseason, it appears that Utley is now an everyday starter. So that should be quite the atmosphere for Urias.
Urias has been dominating in the minors. He was scheduled to start for OKC today, but that obviously won’t be happening. Urias has made eight appearances in AAA (seven starts) and the Dodgers have been closely managing his innings, as he’s only thrown 41 innings in those eight appearances. He’s allowed five runs in those eight outings, four of which came in his second start of the season against Nashville. Urias hasn’t allowed a run in his last five outings and has gone six innings in three of his last four.
Expect the Dodgers to be extremely cautious with Urias, as they have been for the last couple years. I’m honestly shocked they’re starting his clock when they’re (most likely) not going to keep him up, but he was lined up and this should bring some excitement. Urias hasn’t gone more than six innings or thrown more than 82 pitches this season, so don’t be shocked if the Dodgers have a quick hook tomorrow.
It’s important to remember to keep expectations at bay. Last year, a Dodger pitching prospect made his debut at New York and got shelled. Zach Lee has pretty much not been heard from since then (at least at the major league level).
Urias is supposed to be the next Clayton Kershaw/Fernando Valenzuela. That doesn’t mean he’s going to be excellent from day one. Keep expectations tempered, and if he can go 5-6 innings that should be considered a win. The Dodgers’ bullpen has been good of late, so lets just get pumped and be happy for the kid, set to make his dream come true and make his first of hopefully many starts as a Dodger.
First pitch for Friday’s game will be at 4:10 PM PST. It’ll be on Sportsnet LA and MLB Network (blacked out in LA), and it will also be free on MLB Plus (according to Mike Petriello).