Dodgers starter Julio Urias continues to struggle this season. His uneven 2020 culminated in giving up four earned runs in Tuesday’s loss to the San Francisco Giants. Urias was primarily used as a spot starter and effective lefty reliever last season, should he return to the bullpen for the rest of 2020?
Early Urias Struggles
Urias has lacked command as a starter this season – too few strikeouts and too many walks. He has three starts this year with two or more walks without completing six innings. In last week’s loss to the Seattle Mariners, Urias burned through 52 pitches and couldn’t complete two innings. In four of his five starts in August, Urias walked a batter in the first inning.
- 8/25 @SF: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 79 pitches
- 8/19 @SEA: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 52 pitches
He’s yielding home runs at the highest rate of his career (1.0 HR/9) while striking out batters at the lowest strikeout rate of his career (8.0 SO/9), since his injury shortened 2017.
It hasn’t been pretty, but the Dodgers shouldn’t simply pull the plug starting Urias after waiting through shoulder surgery, multiple eye surgeries, and his natural player development since his call-up in 2016.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) May 10, 2017
Wait and See
Granted, two bad starts awash in a sea of average-at-best performances, but it’s still too early to bail on the 24-year-old Urias,
The southpaw wears a 3.67 ERA which 29 other MLB teams would be pretty happy with for a starter. This is still the same top Dodger prospect who graded out ahead of the likes of Blake Snell and Josh Hader. This is still the same pitcher who had a no hitter through the first three innings against the eventual champion Chicago Cubs in the 2016 NLCS.
He could still be a rotation mainstay and the Dodgers have the time to find out.
— Doug McKain (@DMAC_LA) August 28, 2020
If the Dodgers were scrapping for a playoff spot and Buelher wasn’t on the IL, maybe there’s a stronger argument for converting Urias back to a reliever this regular season. For the postseason, Urias might be a better option as a reliever, but like Kenta Maeda, he deserves regular season starts.
Pulling Urias from the rotation would be a whiplash reaction akin to mismanaged teams. The kid gloves need to come off. Manager Dave Roberts needs to let him work through his current struggles and stop pulling him at the first sign of trouble.
How is Urias going to reach his potential if he continually gets pulled at the first sign of trouble?