One word defined Julio Urías’s seventh Major League season: Consistency.
The 26-year-old lefty has been one of the most consistent Dodgers pitchers since he burst onto the scene, and 2022 was no different. Not only did he manage to stay off of the injured list while his fellow starters were plagued with issues, but he also turned out one gem of a game after another in his 31 starts this season.
“I’m having a hard time coming up with adjectives to describe him and what he’s done for us,” manager Dave Roberts said of Urías in September. “But it’s hard to ignore what this guy does for a championship-caliber ball club.”
Despite missing out on the All-Star Game, Urías’s recognitions and stats tell quite the story. He was nominated for the Cy Young, All-MLB Team, and National League Outstanding Pitcher awards and also received MVP votes. It’s easy to see why: Urías led the National League with a 194 ERA+ and career-best 2.16 ERA, finished second in wins (17), and was third in both WHIP (0.931) and batting average allowed (.199).
Throughout the season, Urías had some impressive runs. He posted a 1.79 ERA and 110 in his last 19 starts; before that, he had a 1.94 ERA in 15 starts as of September 17, with the Dodgers winning all but one of those games.
“He’s been unbelievable, man,” Trea Turner said after Urías led the team to an 8-4 win against the Padres in September. “His stuff’s been electric lately … He just gets people to just miss here and there. I think he’s really good too, when he gets in trouble or when he makes a mistake, in picking himself up and making the next pitch.”
It’s high praise for a pitcher, especially one with so much pressure on him to carry the rotation. But Urías seemed to sail through in a way we’ve come to expect. With Walker Buehler missing most, if not all, of the 2023 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, Urías will be the Dodgers’ new ace—a role he certainly deserves.
Urías made his first NLDS Game 1 start this year against the San Diego Padres, positioning him to start a potential Game 5 on regular rest. Not only would this allow the Dodgers to maximize his abilities if needed, but it also showed how confident the team felt in its bullpen: The start effectively made it impossible—or at least substantially more difficult—for Urías to come in as a reliever, as he did in the past.
The Dodgers won that game 5-3 against Mike Clevinger, who exited the game after 2 2/3 innings. Urías recorded one hit and six strikeouts through the first four innings but gave up three runs on three hits, including a homer by Wil Myers, in the fifth.
Stats: 17-7, 2.16 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 0.96 WHIP, 166 K, 175 innings, 4.9 bWAR, 3.2 fWAR
Salary: $8 million
Game of the Year
September 27, 2022: The Dodgers break their franchise win record with No. 107 behind another stellar performance by Urías, who had a 1.23 ERA in his last 13 starts at the time. He gave up no runs and six hits in six innings, setting the Dodgers up for a 1-0 win in extra innings.
Urías is entering his final year with the Dodgers before free agency kicks in. He’s expected to make around $13.7 million, per MLB Trade Rumors salary arbitration projections.