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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Plans for Julio Urias in the Starting Rotation

2020 might finally be the year of Julio. The 23-year-old Urias came into Dodgers camp looking slimmer and eager to earn a role among the starting 5 in the LA rotation. On Saturday, manager Dave Roberts said that is very likely.

On the health front, Urias reported to camp 25 pounds lighter than he was at the end of last season. In the off-season, he focused on eating healthy and training understanding that this year could be special.

For the short version, Doc said “right now that’s where we see him” as far as the rotation is concerned. The longer version has Roberts acknowledging a healthier looking Urias in 2020.

 The conversations that we’ve had with Julio is more that he understands what’s in front of him. He’s got to continue to stay healthy, take care of his body… last year was difficult on a lot fronts, but also the inconsistency of role I think was hard for Julio.

Earlier this year, Urias spoke positively of his 2019 role, primarily his enjoyment of pitching in relief. However, he did acknowledge that “it was a little bit complicated” and that he sometimes didn’t know what he was doing.

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Dave Roberts touched on that as he continued his thought ahead of the Dodgers Cactus League opener.

We take for granted his buy-in sometimes, but now things will be more regimented as a starter. So what that, with the way he looks physically, to sustain that, I think he’s going to have a really nice year.

Of course, Urias had a nice year in 2019 as well. A look back at the successful but rocky season for the young lefty shows success both as a starter and reliever. In limited action as a starter over parts of 4 seasons, “El Culichi” has posted a 3.66 ERA in 123 innings pitched over 28 games.

Now given the chance to work into a routine full time, 2020 could finally be Julio’s time.

NEXT: Julio Urias Has an Eye on the Starting Rotation in 2020

Clint Pasillas

Clint Pasillas has been writing, blogging, and podcasting about the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2008. Under Clint's leadership as the Lead Editor, Dodgers Nation has grown into one of the most read baseball sites in the world with millions of unique visitors per month. Find him online on Twitter/X or his YouTube channel!


    1. Losing some weight doesn’t mean you’ll be a better pitcher. Jansen lost 25 lbs prior to last year and his ERA skyrocketed to 3.71. He wasn’t really the closer at all by the end of the season. Roberts may be impressed by Urias’s weight loss, but I’ll be impressed by pitching skills that result in a low ERA. Urias will get his shot. The results will determine whether he sticks in the starting rotation. There are plenty of guys ready to jump in front of him if he stumbles.

  1. I suspect that Jansen’s inflated numbers had more to do with his recovering heart condition than his weight.

    1. If heart conditions cause a 4 to 5 MPH drop in velocity, and a drop in spin rate and movement of cutters, I’ll agree. But I’m pretty sure doctors advised him to lose weight because of the heart issues, and that was his real motivation for losing weight, rather than improving his pitching abilities.

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