On Friday night, the Dodgers were set to start LHP Alex Wood against the Mets in New York, but he has been scratched due to tightness in his triceps. To replace Wood, LA is calling up 19 year old sensation Julio Urias to make his big league debut.
To say Urias has earned the promotion would be an understatement. Just 19, even making it to Triple-A is an accomplishment, and for most pitchers in the PCL, the goal is to just not suck too badly. For instance, two years ago, a 21 year old Noah Syndergaard ran a 4.60 ERA/3.70 FIP, as he controlled the strike zone but got torched for a .389 BABIP, thanks to the fun-sized ballparks and offensive environments that make the league a hitter’s haven.
Urias, though, is running a 1.10 ERA/2.89 FIP in his first 41 innings in the PCL, and four of the five runs he’s allowed came in one appearance, back on April 16th. He allowed the fifth run in his next outing on April 22nd, a five inning affair where he gave up just two hits, walked one, and struck out eight. He’s pitched in five games since then, and posted the following line.
26 IP, 13 H, 0 R, 6 BB, 24 K.
In the toughest environment for a pitcher in baseball, Urias is destroying the competition. As a 19 year old.
So tomorrow, we’ll get to see how ready he is to get big leaguers out. His initial test, pitching against the defending NL champs in Citi Field, is not an easy one, but Urias has been dominating hitters in less-than-friendly environments all year. There is always a tremendous amount of uncertainty when it comes to projecting pitching prospects making the leap to the big leagues, but with Urias doing what he did to Triple-A batters this year, it was time to see how well he’ll handle the transition.
Steamer’s already sold on Urias, projecting him for a 3.43 ERA/3.58 FIP over the rest of the season, which would work out to put him on a pace for +3 WAR if he were to pitch a full season’s worth of innings. Whether the teenager can live up to those lofty projections and the hype that surrounds him is something we’re all about to find out.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.