Young talent is a hot commodity. It always has been and always will be, but could major league teams be rushing this commodity into the potential ground? When you look around the league, organizations such as the Astros, Indians, and Red Sox can be considered the lucky ones with the sensational, young shortstops that these clubs put in the lineup each day. They have definitely reaped the most positive of outcomes after calling up their top prospects so early, but will the Dodgers get the same out of bringing up Julio Urias so soon?
With Xander Bogaerts being the grandfather of the trio at twenty-three years old, Fransisco Lindor at twenty-two, and Carlos Correa rounding out the bunch at twenty-one, their futures are about as bright as one could imagine, but what do the likes of these three, Mike Trout, and Bryce Harper have in common? They are positional players. I believe that hitting and fielding under the bright lights of a major league stadium will shine less pressure than those who are on the bump. Tens of thousands of people are plastering their eyes on pitchers every pitch they throw.
Whereas, positional players are in the limelight for about four at-bats and maybe a few defensive plays a game. Plus, when you add in the fact that many members of the grand stands don’t understand the intricacies of pitching, the jeers of the crowd may lead to young pitchers putting too much attention on the crowd’s antics rather than the batter standing sixty feet six inches away from them.
If you are not familiar with Julio Urias, you better get familiar. Urias is a phenomenal pitcher. With him being in the Dodgers organization, I have witnessed many of his outings with the Dodger’s double-A affiliate the Tulsa Drillers (my hometown). This kid – and I can say kid because he is only nineteen years old – has lights-out stuff. The Dodgers obviously understand what kind of weapon they possess with the nineteen year old. As they have already had internal discussion of calling up their top-prospect to fill a role by coming out of the bullpen. As mentioned earlier, the pressure that surmounts when slinging fastballs across the plate in a major league stadium is extremely overwhelming, and I believe it is too much for a nineteen year old kid like Julio Urias. Heck, it has proven as too much for pitchers twice his tenure. Although he can and may totally prove me wrong, and he definitely has the stuff to do that, I am about to take my spring semester finals, and the pressure that these multiple choice tests are capable of producing is haunting enough.
It is very sad to see top prospects not pan out in the big leagues, and, in my opinion, it happens way too often. I sincerely hope Urias can handle the pressure because he is a very humble kid with a very interesting story surrounding his come up. He deserves it. However, as many former baseball players can attest, baseball does not care if you deserve a good ending to your career. You have to earn it, but I believe that when major league ball-clubs call up a prospect that is not even old enough to share a drink with his teammates, legally, is setting them up to fail. As has happen many times, when a pitcher loses his confidence, many struggle to regain it for the rest of their careers. I wish Julio Urias all the luck in the world, and hope he will prove me wrong, pending his call-up. Because like I said, he deserves it.