He may still be a teenager, but Julio Urias is also now a Major Leaguer.
The Dodgers' top prospect is headed the Majors for his debut on Friday against the Mets after Los Angeles announced Thursday morning it would promote the 19-year-old lefty from Triple-A. Urias, MLB.com's No. 2 overall prospect, is expected to start in New York after the Dodgers said left-hander Alex Wood would miss his scheduled outing with left triceps soreness.
Urias, who joined the Dodgers out of Mexico in 2012, will become the first 19-year-old pitcher to start a Major League game since Felix Hernandez in 2005. Urias was just 16 when he made his Minor League debut with Class A Great Lakes in 2013 after Los Angeles purchased his contract from the Diablos Rojos of the Mexican League for $450,000.
The southpaw was 4-1 with a 1.10 ERA in eight Triple-A outings this season with Oklahoma City. He struck out 44, walked just eight batters in 41 innings and his 0.78 WHIP is the best among Triple-A pitchers. His 1.10 ERA leads the Pacific Coast League and his 29.7 strikeout percentage is second-best in the PCL.
In 69 career Minor League games with the Dodgers, Urias is 11-8 with a 2.63 ERA and 308 strikeouts in 263 1/3 innings.
MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports the Dodgers could end up using Urias out of the bullpen this season as they aim to limit his innings. Urias, who threw 80 1/3 frames last season, has never pitched more than 87 2/3 in a year.
Urias will become the youngest player in the Majors when he suits up on Friday -- Colorado's Miguel Castro and Texas' Nomar Mazara, both 21, entered the week as the youngest players in the big leagues. Raul Mondesi was the last 19-year-old to reach the Majors when he pinch-hit in the World Series last year, but Bryce Harper and Jurickson Profar were the last 19-year-olds to play in regular-season games, both in 2012.
Oklahoma City pitching coach Matt Herges recently suggested Urias has nothing left to prove at Triple A and was probably ready for the Majors. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts also said on May 7 that the organization was thinking of bringing up the teenager.
"Coming into the season, I had a checklist of things I had for him to work on and he's been able to cross those things off," Herges said. "How he handles himself in-game has gotten so much better. The frustration he used to show hindered his performance and it hurt the next pitch. That's gone. How he holds runners was another box that needed to be checked off, and that's done. Tipping his pitches, that's checked. There's always something to work on, but the things I was most concerned about in terms of his big league readiness, those boxes have been checked."
Urias told MiLB.com earlier this month that he wouldn't be satisfied with simply reaching the Majors.
"My goal is to get to the Majors, but it's not the end goal," he said after throwing six hitless innings on May 4. "I still want to do better and I'm thankful that people see me this way right now. I still want improvement, I want to get better and I plan every day on getting better any way I can."