Normally a starting pitcher throwing three innings for Class-A Great Lakes isn't big news, but Sunday is different. That starter was Julio Urias, a 16-year-old the Dodgers signed last August out of Mexico, and he struck out six of the 11 batters he faced in his professional debut.
Loons play-by-play voice Jared Sandler reported that Urias, again just 16 years old, was between 88-94 mph on his fastball, and also mixed in a curve and change up. The 5'11", 160-pound Urias allowed just two hits and a walk, and didn't allow a run.
#UriasWatch nugget: Urias speaks no English. Catcher, Ricardo, speaks four languages, including Urias' familiar language: Espanol.— Jared Sandler (@jsandlerESPN) May 26, 2013
@jsandlerespn Ricardo has done a nice job keeping Urias in control. Seems to talk with him at the right moments to help him keep composure.— Paul Thomas (@pwt1997) May 26, 2013
Urias signed with the Dodgers on Aug. 17, 2012, for a bonus of an unknown amount but believed to be over $1 million. Because he was technically a transfer from the Mexican League, only a quarter of his signing bonus counts against the international signing cap of $2.9 million.
Brandon Lennox ranked Urias the Dodgers' 17th-best prospect during the offseason.
Craig Minami spoke with Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus during spring training, and Parks was high on Urias.
"He's a long way from doing anything but if this kid goes to complex league next year and starts turning heads, and when a kid has three pitches that he can throw for strikes, from left side, he's going to make some waves, he's going to turn some heads," Parks said. "It may take a couple of years but it is a good signing."