Dave Roberts: Dodgers Looking For ‘Consistency’ From Julio Urias
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias against the Tampa Bay Rays
Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports

As the Los Angeles Dodgers evaluate players during Cactus League, much of manager Dave Roberts’ focus figures to be on his deep collection of starting pitchers.

Several candidates are under consideration for the fifth spot in the rotation. Even with Dustin May and Jimmy Nelson seemingly out of the running, Tony Gonsolin, Ross Stripling and Alex Wood still appear to be in the mix.

The rest of the projected Opening Day unit is mostly set in stone, with Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and David Price entrenched at the top. As for the fourth spot, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman recently suggested that it is Julio Urias’ to lose.

Now 23 years old, the 2020 season will mark his first season without an innings cap. With no restrictions limiting him, Roberts is looking for Urias to show that he belongs in the starting rotation on a full-time basis this year, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:

“It’s Julio’s time to make that jump and be a starter,” manager Dave Roberts said. “The challenge for Julio is to sustain it all year long. I think that that’s where the maturity has to come into place and, you know, the weight room and obviously stuff on the field matters, so it’s the consistency that we’re looking for from him.”

Once a prospect on the rise in the Dodgers organization, Urias had his career interrupted by shoulder surgery in June 2017. He didn’t return to the mound until the following July, and the club kept him on a modest workload.

Urias remained on an innings limit last season but now appears ready to take the next step in his career. He is coming off a successful 2019 campaign, going 4-3 with a 2.49 ERA, 3.43 FIP and 1.08 WHIP in 79.2 innings of work (37 games).

In 28 starts dating back to his rookie season, Urias has compiled a 5-5 record, 3.66 ERA and 1.36 WHIP with 125 strikeouts against 49 walks over 123 innings pitched.

He made just eight starts last year, but thrived to the tune of a 3.26 ERA and 1.12 WHIP with 37 strikeouts in 30.1 frames.

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