About an hour before Wednesday night’s minor league game between the Dodgers Advanced Single-A affiliate Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and the Lancaster JetHawks (Astros), Quakes social media guru and co-play-by-play man Brandontweeted that Dodgers top pitching prospect Julio Urias had been scratched from the game and replaced by right-hander Jharel Cotton. Although he didn’t know it at the time, Liebhaber’s tweet set off a series of panicked replies speculating that the 17-year-old left-handed Mexican phenom was injured – this in spite of Liebhaber’s claim to the contrary.
As it turned out, Urias had been pulled from the game for, of all things, the possibility that he might be invited to next week’s Cal League All-Star Game in Wilmington, Delaware.
“We were told an hour ago that the Dodgers want to make [Urias] available to pitch in the Cal League All-Star Game next week and they told us to pull him back,” said Quakes pitching coach and former Dodger reliever Matt Herges just prior to Wednesday’s game. “All decisions involving Julio come from [Dodgers Vice President of Player Development] De Jon Watson and the Dodgers front office. They tell us when he pitches and when he doesn’t and we do what we’re told.”
As most Dodger fans are aware by now, Urias is pitching under an extremely tight innings limit under the watchful eye of the Dodgers front office, this no doubt because of his tender age. In fact, Urias has gone the requisite five innings to capture a win only once this season – which accounts for his meager 1-1 record and 40.2 innings pitched in his 10 starts. He does, however, lead all Quakes starters with his impressive 3.76 ERA and has 43 strikeouts (along with only 18 walks) and his 1.30 WHIP is the lowest among all Quakes starters.
While there has been no official word from the Dodgers whether or not Urias will be promoted to Double-A Chattanooga after the All-Star break, there is much speculation that he will.
On hand for Wednesday night’s game was baseball super agent (and Dodgers season ticket holder) Scott Boras, who represents Urias and Dodgers top shortstop prospect Corey Seager, along with JetHawks star third baseman Rio Ruiz. Asked if he has heard whether or not Urias or Seager will be promoted anytime soon, Boras replied “Not yet.”