Bright Lights. The Big Apple. Citi Field and 2015 NL Champions, the New York Mets.
On a cool Friday night in May, the former MLB number 1 prospect and Mexico native, Julio Urias, made his long awaited and highly anticipated MLB debut. After waiting a couple years and several trips to Single-A Rancho, the hype around Urias was unreal.
His first start however, not so mesmerising, he got rocked by the reigning NL champions and got pulled after 2.2 innings, conceding 3 runs on 5 hits and throwing 81 pitches.
His next start 5 days later, was in even worse conditions. A cold Wrigley Field and playing the eventual 2016 World Series Champions, the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs roughed up Urias for 6 runs in 5 innings, still working on a very hard pitch count of around 85 or less.
A few more starts in the rotation didn’t go as planned and soon the 19 year old was 0-2 with a 5.82 ERA and had people wondering, had Urias had been rushed to the majors? It seemed like the Dodgers had no choice but to bring Urias up, the Dodgers starting pitching staff with the exception of Kershaw was rattled with injuries and sub-par pitching performances.
Urias pitched decent with stints in the rotation and with some action in the bullpen and showed flashes of becoming a dominant pitcher, leaving many Dodgers fans excited for the 2017 season. He ended the 2016 season with an ERA of 3.39, 0.9 WAR with 77 innings pitched.
And here we are, almost a year later with the same complications plaguing the Dodgers’ pitching staff, a team struggling to play be at .500, a team struggling to win the division, and stuck in a bit of a rut. The team is waiting, waiting for the return of the kid to provide that spark, the energy needed to make a push toward .500 and get to the promised land.
And that is happening this Thursday, against the enemy, the San Francisco Giants.
Need I say more? There is heavy speculation that Urias will start against the Giants at AT&T Park in place of a struggling Kenta Maeda. Urias who threw 5.2 innings in his last minor league start on April 21 should be ready and well rested for his speculated start on April 27th.
I predict he goes at least 6 innings giving up 3 runs with 8 strikeouts for a decent season debut. His projected opponent is lefty Matt Moore who has an ERA of 5.87 in 4 starts this year and a negative .5 war per baseball reference.
After this start Roberts has told the media he will stay in the rotation and have another stint in the MLB, hopefully all year to make that playoff push.
Although the Dodgers struggles against left handed pitchers are evident, hopefully the 20 year old’s passion and energy sparks the dodgers bats, brings stability and order to the dodgers starting rotation for the entire season and to get a win against the rivals.