TULSA -- It was a highly anticipated Double-A debut, and Julio Urias didn’t disappoint in what was a largely efficient outing in Tulsa's 1-0 loss to the San Antonio Missions (Padres). In a game that was a clear change of pace from the previous night, Urias’ quick outing was a well-received gift to my travel plans.
Urias struck out four in his five scoreless innings, allowing only two singles and a walk.
Here are some thoughts on tonight’s game in Tulsa:
It lacked the dazzle to match his reputation, the seemingly cool customer showed some signs of rattling in the second, but I still came away impressed with his performance tonight. Urias grew into his velocity ,sitting low 90s early in the game before reaching 94-95 mph more consistently in the second and third before trailing off again in the fourth. Whether you want to base it on age or Urias’ still getting stretched out in the early season, there is enough reason to not give concern to the velocity dip in the fourth and fifth. Urias could still reach back for 94 mph when he needed it.
Urias actually pitched better off the fastball around 91-92 mph. Throwing in the mid 90’s during the second inning, Urias showed some negative tendencies in a slight head whack and some effort in the arm action. Effort to him that is, because the ball looks so easy coming out of his hand most of the time. The fastball had decent run, but he pitched up more often with the pitch and it would flatten out. Overall command of the fastball was average, but it flashed better later and and at lower speeds.
Urias’ off-speed pitches were flip flopped from my prospect profile of him, with the change-up being the more effective offering. Urias’ curveball was still an above average offering thrown with two distinct speeds and break. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get the early slow breaker called for strikes, and hitters appeared to read the harder curve out of hand. It wasn’t hit hard, it just didn’t miss bats like it was intended to.
The change-up both missed bats and generated the weakest swings of the night. The arm speed was terrific and the fade on the pitch could get righties to chase. He grew into his confidence with the pitch and it was a real weapon for him after the second inning.
It’s too early to call it a book, so the chapter on Corey Seager in the early going is that he’s going to be aggressive on fastballs in the zone, and I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. He’s got the bat speed and plate coverage to hit anything hard that’s thrown across the plate, and he’s not missing on them either. Tonight it put him into some pitchers’ counts with early foul balls, and it lead to him being fooled on an off-speed pitch for a strikeout, but the approach is what you want to see from a young hitter with his talent. He’s confident, and he’s aggressive, and he will learn through this approach which pitches he can drive and which balls to let go for a potentially better opportunity later in the at bat.
Seager tattooed a ball foul that missed the foul pole by several feet, but gave a good indication to the power that he possesses. The exit speed off the bat and carry looked tremendous.
It was another quiet night defensively for Seager, but he did flash his range on a play up the middle. Again, his hands are soft, his upper body actions are smooth, and Seager has a strong accurate arm. However, on two occasions tonight, I was a little surprised at his more sudden footwork. It wasn’t a hinderance and it didn’t affect his ability to make the play, it just wasn’t typical and looked a little mechanical.
The outing looks great in the box score with three perfect innings and four strikeouts, but Chris Reed’s stuff left something to be desired. Reed sat 86-88 mph with a sinking fastball that didn’t show the same weight that I saw on video evaluating him. Reed’s change-up and slider both generate swings and misses, and could be better than average. It’s early in his transition to the pen and I don’t want to put too much stock in his debut, but it’s safe to say I’ve over-ranked him.
Another ball to his left and another iffy defensive play from Brandon Dixon. It’s just two plays, but Dixon’s footwork and range to his left leave something to be desired. You’d hope a player of his length playing second would cover ground better, but his quickness may be no better than average. Again, it’s just two plays and the tiniest of samples, it’s just my early observation.