While Joc Pederson and Corey Seager garnered plenty of attention and notoriety during their time in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ farm system, their allure wasn’t quite at the level seen with Julio Urias.
At 19 years, 289 days old, Urias became the youngest Dodgers starting pitcher since Dick Calmus in August 1963, and youngest pitcher in franchise history since Fernando Valenzuela was used as a reliever in 1980.
What’s more, Urias is now the youngest to pitch in the Majors since Felix Hernandez made his Major League debut with the Seattle Mariners in 2005.
As another left-hander hailing from Mexico, the comparisons between Urias and Valenzuela have been in place since the teenager signed with the Dodgers.
The exuberance and expectations behind Urias rival those from Clayton Kershaw’s time as a prospect. However, Kershaw gave the edge to Urias when reflecting on his days as a 19 year old, per ESPN’s Doug Padilla:
“But yeah, his whole demeanor, just everything is just light years ahead of when I came up. He’s had more time in the minor leagues than when I came up and they have really prepared him well. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to come up when I did because I learned up here. I think he’s already learned there so now he’s good to go.”
Kershaw went on to praise the number of pitches in Urias’ arsenal, which Kershaw noted is superior to how many he has:
“I think he was one breaking ball at one point and now it’s turned into two, which is awesome,” Kershaw said. “He has the really hard slider that shows his aptitude. He can learn it in spring training, and then his curveball is still there, too. He has four legit pitches, which is more than I have now, so it’s good, yeah. He’s going to be just fine.”
Selected by the Dodgers seventh overall in the 2008 draft, Kershaw debuted with the Dodgers in May 2008. Urias has been in the Minors since 2013.
He allowed one run on three hits and had seven strikeouts in four innings of work in his Dodger Stadium debut on Tuesday night.