A teenage pitcher named Julio Urias is dominating in the Pacific Coast League, bringing back memories of Felix Hernandez’s time with the Tacoma Rainiers.
Hernandez was 19 years old in 2005, when every start brought the following debate among Seattle Mariners coaches, front office personnel, and scouts:
His stuff is good enough to pitch in the majors right now. He’s dominating Triple-A lineups. But can we really put a teenager in a big league starting rotation?
In August that season, the Mariners made the call and the rest is history.
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The Los Angeles Dodgers face the same quandary with the 19-year-old left-hander Urias.
Pitching for Oklahoma City, Urias is 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA after five games (four starts). In 24 innings pitched, he has allowed just 14 hits and three walks, striking out 29.
To top it off, he pitched six no-hit innings in his last start on Wednesday against New Orleans. He was pulled from the game after 77 pitches with the no-hitter intact.
“The honest truth is every pitch I threw I had command over,” Urias told MiLB.com after Wednesday’s game. “Slider, curveball, changeup. I thought I was really confident throwing any pitch in any moment.”
Like the Mariners with Felix a decade ago, the Dodgers are being very careful with Urias’s pitch counts: he has not thrown more than 80 in any game this year.
Unlike the Mariners in 2005, the Dodgers are reportedly considering calling up Urias as a relief pitcher to begin his career.
Double-A Jackson outfielder Tyler O’Neill is becoming a regular in this report, as he continues to hit his way through the Southern League.
The 20-year-old hit safely in every game this past week, and took an 11-game hitting streak into Saturday’s doubleheader against Jacksonville.
He also homered twice this week for six total this season. He’s batting .323 with 20 RBIs, and he has a .387 on-base percentage in 99 at-bats.
In an only-in-the-minors moment, Class-A Bakersfield reliever Ramon Morla was ejected from Thursday’s game at Rancho Cucamonga during the first inning for not moving his chair.
The Mariners prospect was sitting in a plastic chair down the left field line near the bullpen when he was ejected by umpire Jesse Orozco.
Morla told Bakersfield broadcaster Dan Besbris that he explained to the umpire that he was just trying to find a spot where he could see the game, and that possibly a fan yelled something which the umpire attributed to him.
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.