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17-year-old Julio Urias wants to finish the season in the big leagues

Mar 15, 2014, 7:20 PM EDT

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17-year-old pitcher Julio Urias, a Mexican native, started Saturday afternoon’s Cactus League game against the Padres. The lefty tossed a perfect first inning, striking out two before departing. The Dodgers signed Urias in August 2012 and he made his professional baseball debut last year with Single-A Great Lakes, finishing with a 2.48 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings.

All of that is impressive enough, but Urias has loftier goals in mind:

As MLB Network Radio’s Mike Ferrin noted on Twitter, if Urias does make his Major League debut, he would be the first to do so at the age of 17 or younger since Larry Dierker in 1964. Dierker made one start and two relief appearances, racking up nine innings in which he allowed two runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out five.

Urias is expected to start the season with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times.

  1. dillongeeescapeplan - Mar 15, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    And my goal for 2014 is to bang Kate Upton.

    In all seriousness, it would be awesome to see him make it. Hard to believe he pitched as well he did in class A at the age of 16.

    • genericcommenter - Mar 15, 2014 at 9:50 PM

      I like his chances a lot better than yours.

      • dillongeeescapeplan - Mar 15, 2014 at 9:59 PM

        Can’t say I disagree.

  2. Minoring In Baseball - Mar 15, 2014 at 9:14 PM

    I wish I had the chance to see him pitch for Great Lakes last season. There was a lot of buzz about him around the league, and he really shut down the Whitecaps in a game you can still go back and watch if you have

    • stercuilus65 - Mar 16, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      Why would anyone give this a thumbsdown? Thanks for the link!

  3. Professor Fate - Mar 15, 2014 at 9:36 PM

    The next Fernando Valenzuela? Pedro Martinez?

    Urias struck out the side in his first professional inning. In four starts for the Great Lakes Loons last year, pitching against competition six years older than him on average, he posted this line in four starts: 14 1/3 IP, 13 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 15 K, 2 HR. From a kid who should be a junior in high school.

    His fastball is 88-92 mph with a natural side-arm run (he’s gotten it up as high as 94 and 95), he has a very good changeup, and his curveball (he calls it a slider) is effective. With some more work he should be able to develop that curve into two distinctive pitches. And he’s 17.

    A few hours ago Urias pitched an inning at Camelback Ranch in front of 13,000 or so folks. He blew away Will Venable on a 93-mph fastball, got Chris Denorfia to hit a weak ground ball to third base and struck out Yonder Alonso on a slider during the Dodgers’ game with the San Diego Padres. The first thing a major league scout wrote after watching Urias’ 14-pitch performance was the word poise.

    Just how young is this guy? When a reporter asked him if his dad had told him about the most famous pitcher from Mexico, Valenzuela, Urias replied, “My grandfather.” Suddenly I feel very old. Despite his obvious skills the one thing that may help him the most in his quest is that poise. “I feel prepared,” Urias said. “When the opportunity presents itself, I’ll be ready.”

  4. stercuilus65 - Mar 16, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    Exciting time to be a Dodger fan!

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