When the era of new ownership began for the Los Angeles Dodgers, all of Major League Baseball understood an immediate spending spree would commence.
After several acquisitions and some questionable contracts taken on, the Dodgers built a competitive, playoff-caliber team for years to come.
Coinciding with that, there was one stance the front office took seriously — they were not inclined to include any of their top prospects in trades; namely Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Julio Urias.
Sticking to that point paid dividends for the Dodgers last season as Pederson began the year as the club’s starting center fielder, and Seager made an immediate impact after being called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City in early September.
Some initially expected Urias to be part of the call ups once active rosters expanded, but an elective eye surgery threw his year off course.
While the season didn’t go as planned, Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler raved about Urias’ talent and work ethic, via Josh Jackson of MiLB.com:
“He’s about as charismatic and dynamic an individual as we have in the organization. He’s super communicative and incredibly intelligent, very well liked, very prepared, very driven,” Kapler said. “With that, coupled with his athleticism and lower drive and his fastball characteristics, plus the simple grind of being a baseball dude, he has the makings of a really special contributor to our organization. He’s a guy who’s going to be good for a long time.”
When Baseball America released their Mid-Season Top 50 prospects list, Seager was atop the rankings, with Urias just behind him in fourth place.
Urias spent the majority of last season with Double-A Tulsa, though also received two starts with the Oklahoma City Dodgers. Additionally, the 18-year-old lefty made two starts with the Arizona League Dodgers, and one for High-A Rancho Cucamonga after his eye surgery.
In 13 starts with the Drillers, Urias was 3-4 with a 2.77 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, .213 opponents’ batting average, and had 74 strikeouts to 15 walks in 68.1 innings. He struggled with OKC, going 0-1 over his two starts with a 18.69 ERA and 3.92 WHIP.
On the season, Urias tossed 80.1 innings, which fell short of the 87.2 innings of work he compiled over 25 games (20 starts) with the Quakes in 2014.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman spoke throughout the season of carefully bringing along the prized left-hander. Included in that is not rushing to promote Urias to the Majors, and ensuring he’s mentally just as ready as he is physically.