The story for the night generally begins and ends with Julio Urias when he takes the hill, and tonight wasn't much different, but I still got first looks at Yadir Drake and Matt West.
It wasn't his most dazzling stuff on display, but Urias made the necessary adjustments to cruise through the final four of his six frames to finish off another quality start. Urias' fastball sat mostly 92-94 mph tonight and touched 95 mph a few times, but the pitch didn't have its typical sink, and he was leaving it up in the zone. He did work the ball to both sides, but struggled to drive the ball down in the zone. Urias has a stylistic rock-and-fire style delivery that doesn't exert much effort, but at times he will fail to finish pitches or he will follow through on his lead foot, which can cause him to leave the ball up.
Urias did have both his curveball and change-up working for him. The curve for me is still largely an average pitch that will flash above-average at times. He threw it around 80-82 mph and ran it a few ticks higher with sharper break when he wanted. The Arkansas lineup was lefty heavy tonight and the curve was the pitch of choice, getting hitters to both chase the pitch and drop it over their front shoulder for called strikes.
Urias' change-up is becoming a special pitch that always grades out plus but can be plus-plus at times. He threw the pitch from 79-81 mph tonight and had the same arm speed he used on the fastball. The pitch has fade arm side and the bottom fell out on several change-ups to left handers on the inner half of the plate. The pitch is also a great weapon on the outside corner against right handers.
Urias found his groove late by mixing in more off-speed pitches because he couldn't establish the fastball tonight. He did show some visible frustration on the mound times, even throwing his hands up on a ball that fell in between fielders. Overall, his composure was still solid and coming back from a rough start command-wise is a better testament to his on mound demeanor.
It would be easy to call Drake a poor man's Puig, from the flair with which he plays the game to the rocked-up build and Cuban descent, but the similarities trail off after that. Drake has a filled out 6'1" frame and is a high-waisted athlete with a thicker lower half. He plays with a lively emotion and will probably come off as showy for some.
Offensively, Drake laid into two fastballs tonight. The first was on the inner half of the plate that he lined over the left field fence in a hurry, the second was a liner on a ball out over the plate that was heading into centerfield for a single if not for the pitcher making an impressive overhead snag. Drake's bat speed on both pitches looked good, but the third at bat left something to be desired. Drake stuck his backside out and looped his swing, having been fooled on an off-speed pitch. It's one look, not enough to suggest he's only a fastball hitter or struggles with off-speed pitches, but an observation nonetheless.
West followed Urias' efficient start with a less than efficient two-out outing of his own. West's fastball sat 93-95 mph and touched 96 mph twice. The pitch has boring life to his arm side, but he could not command the pitch and left everything to the arm side. West showed little feel for a hard breaking ball, looking loopy and hopeless to reach the plate armside, but showing too much bite to the glove side, neither finding the strike zone. The break was sharp enough glove side to suggest the pitch has potential, but he just didn't have any feel for the pitch.
West's delivery is fairly typical for a mound convert. He has a slight leg lift and shoulder tilt, and the arm action can be long in back, but his arm speed is solid and he generates velocity with easy effort. His delivery, however, looks a little disjointed and rather unathletic. He's an arm strength guy and gets a mulligan making his debut, but the polish wasn't there tonight for someone on the fringes of the 40-man roster.