Thursday, May 26, 2016

Welcome to the Blue, Julio Urias! A Boatload of Fantasy Cards

As you no doubt know by now Julio Urias is coming to "The Show" tomorrow.  On the mound he'll be sporting Los Angeles Dodger Blue in that evenings game against the New York Mets, and I think every Dodger fan in the world will be glued to their television set to witness it.  It's the kind of event that will be remembered and spoken about by fans for years to come.  Hopefully, he can rise to the occasion and not get bogged down by unrealistic expectations.

Not that you shouldn't expect the world from him.

Urias has been spectacular since he turned pro just three years ago (at the age of 16).  In fact, today marks the third anniversary of his first professional game. Here's a quote by Urias after that game with the Loons, per Cary Osborne at Dodger Insider:
“With the first couple guys, I was feeling kind of nervous. After that, I was really happy because I was making my debut and things ended up going well for me,” Urias said after the game. “I just wanted to do what (Loons pitching coach Bill Simas) told me. I just wanted to throw strikes and keep the ball down. If you do that, you can pitch in any league.”
On his recent play in the PCL for the Oklahoma City Dodgers Dave Cameron at FanGraphs makes note of how dominating he's been there:
Urias, though, is running a 1.10 ERA/2.89 FIP in his first 41 innings in the PCL (a notorious hitters league), and four of the five runs he’s allowed came in one appearance, back on April 16th. He allowed the fifth run in his next outing on April 22nd, a five inning affair where he gave up just two hits, walked one, and struck out eight. He’s pitched in five games since then, and posted the following line.

26 IP, 13 H, 0 R, 6 BB, 24 K.

In the toughest environment for a pitcher in baseball, Urias is destroying the competition. As a 19 year old.
He is currently in the midst of a 27-inning scoreless streak for Oklahoma City, and aims to extend that into the Majors. Below are some additional fact about Urias worth noting:
  • He will wear the same number he wore during Spring Training, #78.
  • The Dodgers found Urias when they were scouting Yasiel Puig in Mexico City.  They decided to check out a showcase event featuring several Mexican League players in Oaxaca and saw Julio there. Via Mark Saxon at ESPN, Dodgers scouting director Logan White said this about seeing him:
"When I saw this kid, I said, 'My goodness, he has really got a chance to be something special,' " White recalls.
  • He will be the first teenager to pitch for Los Angeles since Fernando Valenzuela in 1980, and the youngest Dodger to make his Major League debut since Adrian Beltre in 1998.
  • He is also the first teenager to start a game for the club since 1963.  Urias is also the fifth teen overall to start a game for the LA Dodgers; joining Sandy Koufax ('55), Don Drysdale ('56), Joe Moeller ('62) and Dick Calmus ('63).
  • He is the youngest Dodger to make his debut as a starting pitcher since Rex Barney (18 years, 242 days on his debut vs. the Cubs on Aug. 18, 1943).
  • Urias is the first teen to start a MLB game since Felix Hernandez in 2005, and is only the second teen this century to start a game.
  • In 41 innings pitched this year he has 44 strike outs, walked eight and allowed five earned runs.
  • He has never thrown more than 87.2 innings during any season.  Also, he has never gone more than six innings or thrown more than 82 pitches during any outing this year. 
Here are some notes from a scouting report, via Ben Badler at Baseball America:
Urias pitches off a fastball that sits at 90-95 mph and can reach 97 mph. That’s excellent velocity for a lefty and it plays up because hitters seem to struggle picking up the ball out of his hand due to the deception in his throwing motion. If there’s a split camp on Urias among scouts, it’s over which secondary pitch they prefer. Some think his best offspeed weapon is his changeup, which has excellent separation of his fastball and good movement. He sells his changeup well by maintaining his arm speed, making it a swing-and-miss pitch that earns plus to plus-plus grades.

Others prefer Urias’ breaking ball, another plus pitch that misses bats of both lefties and righties. It’s rare to see from a 19-year-old, but Urias has the touch and feel to manipulate the shape and speed of his breaking ball, giving it a true curveball look at times and getting wider with it to give it a hard three-quarters break at other moments. He also mixes in a short slider on occasion.

In celebration of his promotion to Los Angeles I made a whole bunch of fantasy cards that you can see in this post.  The card at the top left features Urias dancing in the Dodgers clubhouse with Dodgers PR Director Yvonne Carrasco (photo via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2016) and the 1988 Donruss Baseball card design.  The card at the top right uses a pic taken by Jon SooHoo during Spring Training in 2015 and the 1989 Upper Deck card design.  The card within the body on the right uses another pic by Jon SooHoo from 2015 and the 1985 Fleer Baseball card design.  The horizontal card within the body uses the 1956 Topps design a a pic provided by the Oklahoma Dodgers and grabbed from True Blue LA and a pic from MLB Trade Rumors on twitter.  The card on the above left uses a pic by Jon SooHoo from this past spring and the 1984 Donruss card design.  On its right is a 1959 Topps design with a pic taken by Jon SooHoo in 2016.

Below are his minor league stats, via Baseball Reference:

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...