Over the past two seasons much has been made of the Los Angeles Dodgers top three prospects — Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Julio Urias.
Pederson was first to reach the Majors, debuting in September 2014, followed by taking on a starting role with the Dodgers last season.
Seager’s path to joining the Dodgers essentially was a carbon copy of Pederson’s as he was called-up last September and is on track to be the club’s everyday shortstop this season.
Now Urias figures to be headed down the same road. There was an outside shot the young pitcher would be among the call-ups once rosters expanded in September, but elective eye surgery threw his season off course.
Although some of his development was slowed, Jim Callis of MLBPipeline.com ranked Urias as the top left-handed prospect in all of baseball for a second straight year:
1. Julio Urias, Dodgers
He doesn’t turn 20 until August, and he’s already knocking on the door. Urias has an outstanding combination of stuff and pitchability well beyond his years. He has three plus pitches with outstanding command. The only thing he doesn’t have is innings. Urias has yet to top even 90 innings in a season, but that shouldn’t hold him back for too long.
Urias began 2015 with the Drillers and went 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA, 2.57 FIP and 0.94 WHIP in seven starts prior to his eye surgery.
Opponents hit .194/.246/.318 over that stretch, and Urias averaged 11.50 strikeouts per nine innings, plus struck out 33 percent of batters faced. Overall in Double-A the lefty was 3-4 with a 2.77 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 13 starts.
After the elective eye surgery, Urias made two rehab starts with the Arizona League Dodgers and one for the Quakes. His final appearances on the season came with Triple-A Oklahoma City, where Urias was 0-1 with a 18.69 ERA and 3.92 WHIP in 4.1 innings pitched over two starts.
Reports indicated the Dodgers were willing to include the prized 19 year old in a trade for Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez. However, that ship, for now at least, appears to have sailed.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said last month he doesn’t anticipate Urias or any of the other organization’s young pitchers being part of the Opening Day rotation.
Jose De Leon, who spent last season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa, was ranked the fifth-best right-handed prospect by Callis on Tuesday