BEST PLAYER: The top pitching prospect in baseball when the season began, 19-year-old lefthander Julio Urias was the youngest—and possibly best—pitcher in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League when he got a late-May callup.
Urias dominated older hitters at Oklahoma City. At the time of his promotion, he had a 27-inning scoreless streak and led the PCL in ERA (1.10), WHIP (0.78) and opponent average (.176).
The youngest major league starter since Felix Hernandez also debuted at 19 in 2005, Urias improved with each of his first seven starts, though the Dodgers remain committed to capping his innings to about 100.
“His talent is a little bit ahead of his development,” president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “It isn’t often that a guy’s talent puts him in this position well before he’s built up appropriately to handle a major league starter’s workload. It’s something that’s going to require us to be creative not just this year but at least next season as well.”
BIGGEST LEAP FORWARD: In a system stocked with pitching prospects, 24-year-old righthander Brock Stewart forced the issue by racing through three minor league levels and making his big league debut.
A sixth-round pick out of Illinois State in 2014, Stewart was a two-way player in his final college season. He recorded a 4.19 ERA through his first two pro seasons before busting out in 2016, going 8-3, 1.47 through 14 starts with 10.4 strikeouts and 1.5 walks per nine innings. He allowed just three homers.
“Brock’s ability to spot his fastball and execute with his secondary pitches is in line with what we saw last year,” director of player development Gabe Kapler said.
“However, we’re seeing him yield less damage this year . . . Pitches are really exploding out of his hand, and his commitment to his craft, mound presence and teammate behavior have been just short of spectacular.”
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Righthander Chris Anderson, the 2013 first-rounder from Jacksonville, has taken a step back this season.
Roughed up as a starter at Double-A Tulsa and Oklahoma City last season (4.74 ERA and 1.54 WHIP thanks largely to command problems), Anderson is back at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga this summer and pitching in relief.
“(Pitching coaches) Bill Simas and Rick Knapp have worked tirelessly to help Chris improve his command and his consistency,” Kapler said. “Knappy talks about reminding him to be fearless and attack hitters.”