As hard as it is to find elite position players, it’s even more so to find pitchers of that status. Pitching will always be highly valued (whether overvalued is another debate) because like the saying goes “pitching wins championships,” and it’s true.
True aces do not grow on trees, and there are probably just five or six true aces in baseball. As scary as it is to think about, Clayton Kershaw will not be Clayton Kershaw forever. So, when you have Julio Urias, a young prodigy who has a chance to be an ideal in-house replacement, cherish him, coddle him, or do whatever because chances are you won’t find another generational arm for a long time. And, like Bellinger, he is on his rookie contract.
You can’t ignore his cultural significance either. Los Angeles has a large Mexican community who adore their Dodgers and Urias is from Mexico. Remember Fernandomania? While it won’t ever be that big, Urias has the hype surrounding him and the ability to relate to a large portion of the fanbase.
The present and previous front offices refused to part with a particular trio of prospects to acquire a Cole Hamels or David Price to group with Kershaw and Zack Greinke in 2014 and 2015. Urias was part of that trio, and it spoke volumes regarding Urias and his ability.
He debuted as a teenager last year and flashed the ability that made him an untouchable prospect and screamed “future ace.” He appeared in 18 games, starting in 15 of them, and had a 3.39 ERA and struck out the same amount of batters as innings pitched.
He settled in after the 2016 All- Star break, throwing 40.2 innings and compiling a 1.99 ERA. These are impressive numbers for any young rookie pitcher, but when it’s a teenager posting them, you know you have someone truly unique. Urias is hands down the best young pitcher in baseball and has already gained experience that many pitchers don’t ever get to go through, and that’s pitching in the playoffs.
That postseason experience is invaluable and will only make him a better pitcher as he develops. In a few seasons, he will be the arm fronting the Dodgers’ rotation because you just don’t let go of a generational arm talent.