Los Angeles Dodgers: Julio Urias to Return to Majors on Thursday

One of the game’s most promising starting pitchers, Julio Urias, will make his 2017 debut on Thursday for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

According to J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group, starting pitcher Julio Urias is set to return to the major leagues this Thursday. In doing so, the 20-year-old will make his 2017 debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The lefty had started the season in what was likely a move to limit the number of major-league innings he would accrue this year.

In Urias, the Dodgers have a talented young star. Through 18 appearances, 15 of which were starts, last season, he posted solid statistics for such a youngster. Then 19, he struck out 84 batters against 31 walks over 77 innings of work. He also held opposing teams to a 3.39 earned run average.

As great as this performance was, he has pitched much better in the minor leagues. The lefty routinely dominated through the Dodgers’ farm system despite playing at such a young age. When he signed with the Dodgers back in 2013, Urias was the youngest player in the Midwest League at the young age of 16.

By 2015, MLBpipeline.com considered him to be the game’s best left-handed pitching prospect and the tenth best prospect overall. The lefty primarily throws a four-seam fastball that clocks in around 92 miles per hour with solid movement, but his success has come from his complementary pitches.

Whether or not he will remain in the majors for long remains to be seen. He could return to Triple-A after his start should the result be subpar. Alternatively, Rich Hill‘s injury status could jeopardize his tenure with the team this season.

Still, the Los Angeles Dodgers have had a major problem with their starting rotation this year. The unit has a collective earned run average of 4.28, the eighth-worst in baseball, and this figure is much higher when counting out Clayton Kershaw and Brandon McCarthy. Both pitchers have pitched very well while the rest have struggled for various reasons.

If Urias can pitch even at the league-average level, he could serve as a huge asset in the short and long term. Clearly, his elite prospect rankings bode well for future success, but sometimes these players take a little bit of time to settle into the swing of things. Urias thriving instantly would give the Dodgers a much-needed boost to their starting rotation. The team is far from being out of contention, but any boosts now would provide greater security should the Colorado Rockies or Arizona Diamondbacks sustain their surprise performances or the injury bug hit the team with a vengeance.

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