In 2021, Julio Urias was the only 20-game winner in MLB. In 2022, he was somehow even better, leading the National League with a 2.16 ERA. Despite his dominant season, eight Cy Young voters didn’t even think Urias was one of the five best pitchers in the NL, leading to his third-place finish in the Cy Young race.
While the voters still haven’t figured out just how good Julio is, those closest to him get it. We’ve already covered what pitching coach Mark Prior had to say about him, but catcher Austin Barnes was on Access SportsNet on Wednesday and had some glowing praise, too.
“His demeanor, his pitchability, there’s just so much about him. Seeing his evolution, though, since I first came to the Dodgers when he was, I don’t know how old, 17-year-old, he was the teenager, right. And him coming into the kind of pitcher he is now, his fastball, his special curveball and his real good changeup, he’s a special talent and he’s even a better teammate which is kind of hard to do.”
“He’s just so consistent each start. You said he gets better in the second half. He gets better in those big games, too, it seems like. He’s just so consistent. His curveball, it breaks so many different ways. He can really drive that fastball in on righties’ hands. … He just has a lot of weapons to get people out. And his durability has been pretty good, too. I think he threw a lot of innings this year and he put up a really special year.”
Catchers have a special insight into the game, so when Barnes talks about the break of the curveball and the fastball driving in on the hands of right-handed hitters, you know it’s informed by the 12 games he caught for Julio this year. Maybe the voters should have asked for Barnes’ input before leaving Urias off their Cy Young ballots.
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