- Full name Julio Cesar Urías
- Born 08/12/1996 in Culiacan Rosales, SIN, Mexico
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 225 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- Debut 05/27/2016
Organization Prospect Rankings
Signed out of the Mexican League, Urias made his full-season debut at age 16, starting his blazing ascent through the minors. He toyed with hitters at Double-A Tulsa early in 2015, but he missed two months to have cosmetic eye surgery. When he returned, he struggled for the first time in his career, particularly at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Few teenagers ever have had Urias' combination of stuff and feel for pitching. With a smooth delivery and easy arm action, Urias fills the zone with plus or better stuff across the board. His fastball sits at 90-95 mph, touches 97 and plays up because he hides the ball well. His changeup is a swing-and-miss pitch, and while he needs to harness it in the strike zone more often, the movement, deception and separation from his fastball make it a plus weapon. Urias' plus curveball has sharp break and can be a putaway pitch, one some scouts would like to see him use more. He manipulates its shape and speed, giving it top-to-bottom depth at times, then getting wide at others, and mixes in a short slider. He deliberately throws from multiple arm angles, adding and subtracting from his pitches. Urias threw just 80 innings in 2015, so the Dodgers will monitor his workload jump in 2016. He has top-of-the-rotation potential, and his talent and feel have pushed him to the cusp of the majors. He just has to prove he can handle a more robust workload.
Urias signed as part of a a package deal from Mexico City of the Mexican League shortly after his 16th birthday and has been better than the Dodgers ever dreamed. After dominating at low Class A Great Lakes as a 16-year-old in 2013, Urias got off to a slow start in 2014 but quickly became one of the best pitchers in the high Class A California League at age 17. Urias was younger than many 2014 high school draft picks, so the Dodgers limited him to mostly three to five innings per start. His fastball sits at 89-94 mph and can reach 97. Scouts are split on whether they prefer his curveball or changeup, but that's only because both are plus pitches. His low-80s changeup can devastate hitters with its sink and fade, while his hard, sharp curveball misses plenty of bats when he stays on top of the ball. Both pitches earn future double-plus grades from some scouts, and Urias isn't afraid to throw either pitch in any count. He fills up the strike zone using pitchability beyond his years, with an easy arm action and clean mechanics. Urias has a noticeable medical condition on his left eye that scared some teams off when he was an amateur, but it doesn't hold him back on the mound. The Dodgers try to tap the brakes to take pressure off Urias, but it's hard to control the excitement around a pitcher with a chance to be a true No. 1 starter. He's ready to handle Double-A Chattanooga and on pace to reach Los Angeles in 2016 as a 19-year-old.
Teams considered Urias one of the better arms on the international market in 2012 but were wary of a medical condition in his left eye. He had a tumor removed from his eye when he was younger, which left a noticeable mark over his eye, but the Dodgers say it doesn't affect his vision. The Dodgers signed him in a package deal from Mexico City of the Mexican League, which owned his rights. He proved so advanced that the Dodgers sent him at age 16 to the low Class A Midwest League, where he dominated. When Urias signed, he threw 88-92 mph with a smooth delivery and advanced feel for pitching. Now his fastball ranges from 91-96 mph and the Dodgers say he touched 98, mixing a two- and four-seamer. He throws his fastball for strikes to all areas of the zone while imparting cutting, tailing and/or sinking action. He adds, subtracts and manipulates the shape of his 77-82 mph curveball, which projects as at least a plus pitch. His changeup should give him a third above-average offering but is still inconsistent. Urias is physically mature, so he has to stay on top of his conditioning. Urias has the stuff and polish to be a frontline starter and move quickly. Opposing scouts thought he could have handled an even more aggressive assignment last year. Given his age, the Dodgers are trying to carefully monitor his workload, but he could reach the big leagues when he's still a teenager.
Minor League Top Prospects
The youngest pitcher in Double-A by nearly a year, Urias continued his steady climb to the majors at Tulsa. The only thing that slowed him down was cosmetic surgery to remove a benign tumor from his left eye. The Dodgers promote him to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make two late-season starts. Urias spent about two months on the disabled list in May, June and July as he recovered from surgery, which allowed the Dodgers to curb his innings at 80 for the season. The organization also monitored his pitch count, and he did not eclipse 89 pitches in an outing this season. At his best, Urias has a fastball that ranges 92-95 mph, and he burnished his control this season, walking a career low 2.0 batters per nine innings at Tulsa. He has a maturity level that belies his age and a competitiveness that draws praise from TL opponents. Urias' changeup showed promise, but was inconsistent, which one TL manager attributed to rust from the layoff. He has deception that helps the fastball play up and his curveball flashes plus. "His fastball command is lacking at times, but he's a competitor," one opposing manager said. "He hides the ball, which adds deception to velocity. He holds runners well. Players with his attitude--they usually don't fail."
The youngest pitcher to see action in any full-season league--he pitched most of the season at 17--Urias' star continues to rise. The precocious lefty showed off the league's most electric repertoire to go with polish that defies his age. Urias throws with an easy, under-control delivery while pumping 92-94 mph fastballs, and he can reach back for 97 when he needs it. His fastball command abandons him at times, but his secondary stuff is so good that it didn't matter against Cal League hitters. Urias' changeup shows promising fade and depth, and both it and his curveball have the makings of being plus pitches. He drops his arm angle on occasion to give his breaking ball more side-to-side action, and he also has a feel for adding and subtracting velocity from each pitch. "He has so many weapons," Rancho Cucamonga manager P.J. Forbes said. "He's just shown a knack for when he gets in trouble to be able to make pitches, and that's special for a guy his age." Urias would have led the Cal League in ERA had he logged an additional 24 innings, but the Dodgers carefully managed his workload. His longest start lasted just 5 1/3 innings.
It?s rare to find a 17-year-old in a full season minor league. It?s almost unheard of to see a 16-year-old in the MWL. But Urias didn?t only pitch in the league at age 16, he was one of the league?s best pitchers. Amazingly, he had one of the league?s most advanced approaches on the mound. ?I think you could stick him in a Double-A game and he?d be fine,? the AL scout said. Urias is a fully-matured pitcher despite his youth. His fastball sits at 91-95 mph and he teams it with an average changeup and breaking ball. He already pitches backwards, throwing his offspeed pitches early in the count, which was too much for many MWL hitters. The Dodgers were understandably cautious with Urias? workload. He threw five innings or more just twice, but he pitched well enough that he won both of those five-inning starts and didn?t lose a game. He didn?t allow a run in 10 of his 18 starts.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Control in the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014
- Mexico activated LHP Julio Urías.