Dodgers ace Julio Urias didn’t win the Cy Young Award on Wednesday, which is understandable. He didn’t even finish second, which is less understandable. And eight voters didn’t even put him on their five-man ballots, which is downright incomprehensible.
But one person who definitely appreciates Julio the way he deserves to be appreciated is his pitching coach, Mark Prior. Prior was on High Heat with Christopher “Rabid, Confused Dog” Russo on Wednesday, and he was asked about Urias’s outstanding 2022 season.
“He kind of flew under the radar, surprisingly,” Prior said. “He just posts every single day. He goes out and gives us a chance to win ballgames. He goes out and makes 30 starts this year. He limits damage, gets a lot of soft contact. He doesn’t walk a ton of guys.”
“I think he really has a calming presence on our staff, but on our team when he takes the mound. And what he did for us all year was pretty special with some guys that went down in Walker [Buehler] and Clayton [Kershaw] missing time. He was a stabilizing force for our … pitching staff, and then saved our bullpen on a lot of days, too, just because we needed innings and he would go out there and kind of have that ace mentality and kind of pick up some innings for guys.”
Even this high praise from Prior — a pretty good pitcher himself back in the day — undersells Julio’s dominance a bit. Urias didn’t allow more than two runs in any start after the All-Star break, dropping his season ERA from 3.01 at the break down to a league-leading 2.16 by the end of the season. He was one of only two L.A. starters to stay healthy the whole year, and a season after being the only 20-game winner in baseball, he somehow found a way to be even better.
At least Mark Prior appreciates it, even if the Cy Young voters don’t.
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