Julio Urías came into the 2019 season with high expectations, given that it was likely going to be his first full season back. He began the year on the Opening Day roster since both Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill were injured at the start of the season. He was moved to the bullpen upon the return of Kershaw, but his role on the team was a pitching utility man. Whether he came in to make a spot start or pitched out of the bullpen, he got the job done.
What went right
Urias did a lot of things right in 2019, one of the things being able to adapt. There was a lot of chatter about what his role on the team would be, but the teenager didn’t let that get to him. He said that he was ready to pitch for the team in whatever role he was needed. And that is exactly what he did—not that he had any choice in the matter.
The young southpaw finished with a 4-3 record and 2.49 ERA He pitched in 37 games last season, starting eight of those contests. In the handful of games in which he did start, he earned a 3.26 ERA and held his opponents to a .224 batting average.
In the 29 games he pitched in relief, he earned a 2.01 ERA and a 1.054 WHIP while collecting four saves. He was the go-to multi-innings relief guy, pitching two or more innings in more than half of his relief appearances. He even made a pair of three inning saves last season, which were some of my favorite moments of his season. Urias also had an impressive scoreless streak, lasting from the beginning of June through mid-July.
What went wrong
Keeping the conversation strictly on baseball, Urías didn’t have a lot of negative going around. He had a few outings where he was less than stellar, but those were not common.
One of the appearances that sticks out to me is his Apr. 12 start against the Brewers. He earned his first loss of the season after allowing six runs (five earned) in five innings. Urías gave up a run early in the game and allowed a couple home runs.
Stats: 4-3, 2.49 ERA, 1.079 WHIP, 79 2⁄3 IP, 85 K
Game of the Year
Earlier, I talked about his less-than-great start against the Brewers in April. Although this was not a fond memory from 2019, his very next start, which also happened to be against the Brewers, was stellar.
He earned his first win of the season for his six scoreless inning start on Apr. 18. Plus, he only allowed one hit and two walks while dealing nine strikeouts. It was a nice way to bounce back and finish his short stint on the starting rotation.
Julio Urías and the Dodgers agreed to a one-year, $1 million deal for the 2020 season. The left-handed pitcher will likely see a starting pitcher job in the upcoming season, with the departure of prominent starting pitchers such as Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill.