2017 was a bummer of a year for Julio Urias.
What went right
Urias allowed two total runs over this first three major league starts, despite walking as many people (10) as he struck out in those first 17 innings.
He allowed just one home run to his 102 batters faced in 2017, a shot by Pat Valaika at Coors Field on May 14.
What went wrong
This year was already shaping up to be a frustrating one for Urias just based on how the Dodgers handled him from spring training through the early part of the season. To be fair, there hasn’t been a pitcher as good as Urias as young as he was in years, and there isn’t much of a blueprint of how to proceed.
The Dodgers found themselves caught between needing to have Urias ready in case he was needed at the start of the season while also trying to artificially limit his innings, knowing he wouldn’t have pitched non-stop through the entire 2017 season from start to finish. The result was a series of disjointed stops and starts in March and April, and a pitcher who was all over the place once his number was called.
Urias in five major league starts had more walks (14) than strikeouts (11), and only struck out 10.8% of his batters faced after whiffing 25% of his hitters as a 19-year-old rookie.
Opposing batters hit .271/.380/.388 against Urias in the majors in 2017, and he posted a 5.40 ERA.
Urias allowed 13 runs in just 6⅓ innings over his final two starts, striking out only one of the 36 batters he faced. After his May 20 start against the Marlins, the left-hander was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma CIty, where he made three more starts before getting sidelined with shoulder discomfort.
On June 27 Urias had left anterior capsule surgery on his shoulder. The rehab is expected to last 12-14 months, likely sidelining Urias until somewhere near the All-Star break in 2018 at the earliest.
“I know that about a month ago things were tracking the right way. Doctors were encouraged,” manager Dave Roberts said of Urias on Tuesday at the winter meetings. “So I know that we're a little cautious in trying to give a timeline for his return, but I know that we expect to see him pitch at some point in time this year.”
Stats: 5.40 ERA in 5 starts, 14 BB, 11 K in 23⅓ IP
Salary: unknown, likely somewhere very near the major league minimum of $535,000, pro-rated for his time in the majors.
Game of the year
On May 9 against the Pirates, Urias had the best start of his career. He didn’t allow a hit through his first six innings, and at 6⅓ innings it was the longest start of his professional career. Andrew McCutchen started the seventh with a double, a ball hit into the left field corner that saw Andrew Toles tear his ACL trying to catch.
Urias has 123 days of major league service time and has one option year remaining, having used options in 2016 and 2017.