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Julio Urias: Why he is the games top prospect

Julio Urias: Why he is the games top prospect

DODGERS #1 PROSPECT

FROM A SCOUTING PERSPECTIVE

Julio Urias

Team: Oklahoma City Dodgers 

ETA: 2016

Position: LHP

Age: 19 DOB: 08/12/1996

Bats: L Throws: L

Height: 6' 0" Weight: 215 lb.

Purchased as part of a $1.8 million package deal from the Mexican League's Mexico City Red Devils in 2012, Urias has been baseball's most precocious prospect ever since. He dominated low Class A at age 16 and high Class A at age 17, and he carved up Double-A hitters at age 18 in 2015. The Dodgers have tried to avoid pushing Urias too fast, but he still could reach the big leagues as a teenager.

The best left-handed pitching prospect in the game, Urias possesses plus or better stuff across the board. He can throw his lively fastball, which parks at 91-94 mph and reaches 97, for strikes on both sides of the plate. There's also some deception with Urias' heater, and opponents can't sit on it because he has such good feel for his big-breaking curveball and fading changeup.

Urias threw more strikes than ever last season, though he wasn't his usual sharp self in two late-season starts in Triple-A. He still has to prove he can hold up over the course of a full season because he has never exceeded 87 2/3 innings in a season, in part because Los Angeles has handled him carefully and he missed two months last year after having surgery to remove a benign tumor from his left eye. There are no red flags with Urias' delivery and he has the skills to become a true No. 1 starter.

Based on Scouts 20/80 rating:  

Fastball: 65      Curveball: 60     Changeup: 60      Control: 55     Overall: 65

When scouting a pitcher the first quality a scout will look for is a strong arm. This is a God-given talent that can only be improved to a certain degree. One game under a radar gun will tell if the pitcher has the arm strength to be a major league prospect.

There are two basic models of radar guns used to clock the speed of fastballs. The Jugs Speed Gun (Fast Gun) will pick up the speed of the fastball after it has traveled 3.5 feet and the Ra-Gun (Slow Gun) will pick up the speed after the ball has traveled 40-50 feet. A fastball will lose 8 mph from the time it leaves the pitchers hand to the time it crosses home plate. The JUGS speed Gun is usually 3-4mph faster than the Ra-Gun.

The average major league fastball is 88-89 mph on a JUGS Speed Gun and 84-85 mph on the Ra-Gun. Scouts will rarely if ever sign a pitcher who does not throw at least 85 mph on the JUGS Speed Gun.

CHECKLIST FOR GRADING PITCHERS

  • Fastball- The first thing a scout looks for is a fastball with good velocity and movement. A fastball should sink, rise, slide or tail. A major league fastball is in the high 80's.
  • Curveball- When grading a curveball, scouts look for a fast tight rotation on the ball. A good curveball will break both laterally and downward about two feet. A good curve ball gives the illusion of falling off the table with its sharp downward breaking motion as it approaches home plate.
  • Slider- A good slider can be a tremendous compliment to a good fastball. A good slider will have a tight lateral spin, like a bullet. A slider will break about 6-18 inches as it approaches home plate. It should look like a fastball until it breaks across the plate.
  • Change Up- A good change up can be a tremendous asset to any pitcher by making fastball seem that much quicker to the hitter. A good change-up should look identical to the hitter only it travels 15-20 mph slower than the fastball. It will make the hitter way out in front of the pitch.
  • Delivery- A pitchers delivery should be as smooth as possible. It should look effort-less with no mechanical problems like: throwing across the body, landing on a stiff front leg, overstriding, landing on the heel or his arm lagging behind his body. Any mechanical problems left uncorrected can lead to control and arm problems.
  • Control- The ability to throw strikes on a consistent basis is vital for any pitcher to have success at the major league level. If the pitcher has less than overpowering stuff his control becomes even more important to his success. A good pitcher will be able to throw 70% of their pitches for strikes and can throw breaking pitches for strikes when behind in the count.

Pitchers Velocity:
8: 98 mph +
7: 93-97 mph
6: 90-92 mph
5: 88-89 mph
4: 85-87 mph
3: 83-84 mph
2: 82 mph -

information courtesy of MLB.com/hsbaseballweb


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