Entering 2023, the Los Angeles Dodgers' young talent -- both at big-league level and below the surface -- is still thought of as top-tier throughout the league.
That could certainly change in the eyes of FOX Sports' 26-and-Under Power Rankings next offseason, if the Dodgers let a foundational piece walk.
At the end of the 2023 season, Julio Urías will be 27 years old, removing an undeniable talent from the "big-league pitching" portion of the Dodgers' organizational rankings, which is where they've currently separated themselves most clearly.
He also may not be a member of the Dodgers' organization any longer.
Dodgers LHP Julio Urías could throw off 26-and-Under Power Rankings in 2024
The good news for the Dodgers is that, even without Urías, their crop of rotation prospects (ranked 4-out-of-5 by FOX's assessment) could backfill their big-league needs, led by Bobby Miller and Gavin Stone.
However, as Dodgers fans have learned in recent seasons, producing an ace isn't as easy as producing a wide variety of mid-rotation starters. Dustin May should have been ready, willing and able to steal Urías' spot atop this young rotation, but it hasn't panned out that way. He hasn't been available. Ryan Pepiot, Michael Grove, Tony Gonsolin and Co. have all distinguished themselves, some at Triple-A and some at the big-league level. When push came to shove with Gonsolin last year in October, though, even after an All-Star season ... did anyone feel comfortable guaranteeing success?
It doesn't get better than a 16-1 record and 2.14 ERA during the regular season. It doesn't get worse than 1.1 innings in a playoff start following a forearm strain.
Without Urías -- whose prime remains ahead of him, and who will not be taking a hometown discount -- the Dodgers' rotation is packed with potential aces, but won't include a proven one.
Given FOX's less-than-inspiring assessment of the young offensive talent at the MLB level for the Dodgers (a 5-out-of-10 ranking), we may be witnessing a changing of the guard that won't be quite as speedy as fans in LA have come to expect.
We might also be witnessing a rotation splurge in free agency next offseason rather than a natural, internal transition.