Julio Urias Changes Everything!

Just a couple of years ago at age 18, Julio Urias was the Dodgers Top Prospect. He was off-limits in any trade discussions.  He was the heir apparent to Clayton Kershaw as the Dodgers Ace.  As a rookie, he was much better than Clayton – not even up for debate!  The Dodgers handled him with kid gloves… and then the unthinkable happened.

He was injured and had anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder. Tests showed no structural damage in Urias’ shoulder. But, Andrew Friedman said Urias had an “acute injury. It happened on a pitch. The fact that it’s not wear and tear over the years makes the prognosis better.”This in unlike the surgery Hyun-Jin Ryu had on his shoulder.  He had a torn labrum.  Urias’ injury was nor as severe.  It was just the anterior capsule, but there was no other damage like “wear and tear.”

I am not going to pretend to be a doctor, nor am I going to boar you to tears with medical jargon.  If you want to read more about the anterior capsule, specifically Johan Santana’s surgery and a great description of what is involved, read Science of Baseball: Johan Santana and Anterior Capsule Surgery by Stuart Wallace.

Long story short: Julio Urias has a very good chance of returning 100% and that is only reinforced by the fact that he is throwing 91-92 MPH already WITHOUT PAIN! He is going to start a rehab assignment this week and will likely be working out of the pen, giving Dave Roberts another lefty who can pitch multiple innings.  Getting a healthy Julio Urias back mid-August is like making a deadline deal without giving up a player.  I would expect that by the time he comes back, he will find an extra 2 MPH on that fastball.  Like Ferguson, they will not pitch him on back-to-back days.  They may want 2 or 3 days rest between appearances.

Hyun-Jin Ryu is also starting a rehab assignment and will likely be back at some point.  His arm is sound – that is not why he was out. He was the Dodgers best pitcher at the start of the season and his arm (labrum) surgery was three years ago.  Last year, after he missed almost all of 2015 and 2o16, Ryu pitched 126 innings – his arm should be OK and he should be fresh as he only has logged less than 30 innings this year.

Of course, you can say he is oft-injured, but this left groin tear is not arm related.  I have confidence in his arm and I think he will be a factor down the stretch and in the playoffs.  After all, he is pitching for a new contract (not with the Dodgers).

Ross Stripling is experiencing some fatigue, I believe.  Maybe a trip to the DL would be better than moving him to the pen – he really doesn’t want to go there.

Once Ryu gets healthy, the starters would likely be:

  1. Kershaw
  2. Buehler (give him time to get it back – it might take a couple of more starts)
  3. Hill
  4. Meada
  5. Ryu

That moves Wood, Stripling and Urias to the bullpen, leaving only 2 other roster spots for the bullpen (Jansen has the closer role and Ferguson is a solid piece too.).  The Dodgers will play the hot hand among the relievers, be it Alexander, Chargois, Hudson, Baez, Fields, Cingrani, Liberatore, Floro, Garcia. Goeddel and Rosscup.

The Dodgers gave up a lot when they traded for Manny Machado – I do not see them giving up more.  All indications are that Ryu and Urias are healthy and I believe they will offer more than any deadline deal the Dodgers could make.  There will be no trade for deGrom.  Clayton is the Dodgers Ace – the team was built that way and they will rise or fall with it.  In the playoffs, Maeda will likely pitch out of the pen as well.  By playoff time, the Dodgers much maligned bullpen, just might be their strength.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

This article has 66 Comments

  1. You might remember post-surgery Orel Hersheiser. He was the 1st pitcher to return to pitch in the big leagues after having capsular plication (which is what Urias has had). To put it lightly, he was never the same. While Urias’ age and lack of innings and other wear and tear on the arm are positives, the odds aren’t really great that he will ever be what he could have been.

    Pub Med, a clearinghouse website run by the National Institutes of Health, has numerous articles on the subject of capsular plication. A sample is a study of competitive swimmers who have had the procedure.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2926370/
    As you might imagine, the outcomes aren’t all that good.

    Another article on overhead athletes is equally dubious.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22495849

    This is from an article about former White Sox pitcher John Danks, who was ultimately unsuccessful in his attempt to return from shoulder capsule injury:
    “This time, unfortunately, might be different. The shoulder capsule problem is a relatively rare diagnosis and gathering details on those who’ve had the same issue has also been problematic. But the preliminary research is not promising given the names on the list: Johan Santana, Chris Young, Dallas Braden, Chien-Ming Wang, Pedro Feliciano, Tim Byrdak Mark Prior, Robb Nen, John Maine, Tomo Ohka and Rich Harden.

    As far as I can tell, none of those guys have come back to be the pitchers they were. To be sure, some of the guys on the list had non-capsule shoulder problems. Prior, of course, had a bunch of things wrong with him. Nen was old, and so were Ohka and Feliciano. Maine had non-capsule problems and Young had labrum surgery back in ’09.

    Basically, it’s very difficult to isolate a pitcher who is only dealing with a shoulder capsule tear. The rigors of playing baseball and, in particular, being a pitcher means that establishing what causes what is difficult. But we should be able to talk about what it’s like to rehab from the capsule surgery specifically.

    In which case, let’s turn it over to Susan Slusser:

    Only a handful of pitchers – Johan Santana, Braden, Chris Young, Chien-Ming Wang – have had the surgery … Most people aren’t familiar with this kind of injury, but my impression, from talking to team medical people, is that plenty of pitchers are dealing with this kind of injury and just trying to strengthen the shoulder to avoid surgery. When most orthopedists won’t do it, the procedure is relatively new and the results uncertain, it’s unfair to blame Harden [for trying to avoid surgery]. He was repeatedly advised not to undergo surgery. You might recall that Braden had to visit several orthopedists last summer before finding one who would do surgery.”

    In short, Julio Urias is hardly a sure thing and is a frail reed from which to hang your hopes.

    1. Most of those pitchers had a lot of wear and tear on their shoulders. Urias did not and was only 19. In Orel case, he never could get his velocity back. Urias is almost there and is pain-free. I think he is on track to 100% recovery.

  2. Hershiser was a lot older than Urias and had tons more miles in his arm/shoulder than Urias when he had his surgery in 1990. I have faith that 2017’s technology and trained doctors are a bit more advanced than the technology and doctors which Hershiser dealt with in 1990. Urias’ injury is also considered less severe than Hershiser’s. Given Urias age, light workload, and advanced technology, I think it’s more likely that Urias can come back from this and be what he was.

    However, as we’ve seen with Ryu, these shoulder injuries do take time to come back from, a lot more time than a TJ surgery; hence I’m not confident that Urias will be throwing 94, with accuracy, come September and October of 2018. It’s more likely Urias is a candidate to join the team sometime in early 2019. In fact, if he is put into important games this fall, I expect him to try and over throw to hitters because he’s not able to blow it by hitters right away, thus risking further injury. If I”m the Dodgers, I let him slowly build up his arm the rest of this season in the minors, and maybe get a September call up and throw in a blowout game. If he proves me wrong, great. But this is a guy we didn’t/wouldn’t trade for Chris Sale. We tend to baby our young pitchers, and there’s no way we let him go out there in meaningful games unless he’s 100%, throwing 94 with accuracy, AND showing no ill effects a few weeks of constant pitching.

    I’m not counting on him helping our pen this Sept/Oct. If I’m wrong, then I’ll be very happy to be wrong!

  3. It seems to me that one thing FAZ does really well is manage risk. I don’t think they will let Urias go live until they know he is ready. Baby steps….

  4. The Dodgers are in a dogfight with the Diamondbacks and the Rockies with some very tough series ahead in August and September, so the division at this time is no given. I think the Dodgers would be a much better team with deGrom.
    Kershaw
    deGrom
    Buehler
    Hill
    Ryu
    It’s not going to happen, so your rotation is what the Dodgers will go with down the stretch. Let’s see what happens.

    1. What the Dodgers gave up for Manny: They would have to give up MORE for deGrom. The farm would effectively be gutted.

      1. We will never know, but for a pitcher like deGrom, I think the Dodgers should at least find what the Mets would want.

    1. The traded their head case (Giles) for a domestic abuser (Osuna). Giles was never going to pitch for the Astros MLB team again. I just do not know what they get chemistry wise with Osuna.

      1. Sounds like they got two pretty good prospects for Osuna too. One had been suspended for PED use.

        1. Now the Astros can disparge people with racial slurs by Gurriel and beat their wives with Ozuna.

          Did I just say that?

  5. Wood is pitching well right now. Yes, he’s a five to six inning pitcher, but who isn’t these days. Let’s not forget that he had no trouble with the Astros last year in the World Series. He may not need to throw 93-94 to win. His numbers were a bit skewed by one really bad outing after food poisoning. I think he would be effective out of the pen, but he’s looking good right now too.

    1. I was thinking after Wood’s last start that he might be back to how he was pitching in the first half of last year.
      .
      Stripling now on the DL and not expected back before 12 days. I agree with what is being said, that he is tired. He already has thrown more pitches than he has thrown in any of the last 3 years.
      .
      I was a big fan of Stewart until I saw him pitch in his last time out. He could take more time to throw the ball than Baez ever was. If he speeds up his delivery, I could be a fan again. He is doing well but I haven’t seen anything about the mph on his fastball. Hopefully it is back to normal.

  6. I do not get the impression that Rick is saying that Urias will not make a full recovery, but rather you can count on one hand the number of pitchers who have successfully come back from this surgery. Maybe his age and limited number of pitches will be positive for Urias. We wont know until he pitches again in a competitive theater what gains he has made, and that does not happen until August, well after the trade deadline. I fall in line with Bobby. If I were FAZ I would not consider a healthy Urias while making a decision for a reliever at the trade deadline. If Urias is healthy, then they have a good problem to have. I hope he fully recovers and becomes the front end of a rotation we all thought he would become. I just do not believe you can hang your hat on him being a big contributor in 2018. I hope Mark will be able to say “I told you so!!”
    .
    There may not be a lot of happy campers with putting some of the starting pitchers into the bullpen down the stretch. Per Bill Plunkett
    .
    Ross Stripling on possibility of being skipped/moved out of Dodgers rotation: “When I got moved to the bullpen, it took a year and a half to get back into the rotation. To think that it could take that long again kind of stinks. Obviously I’m proud of the work I’ve done …”
    .
    I guarantee you that Wood and Maeda feel the same way, and with Maeda it obviously will have a financial impact for him. It is easy to say that if they are not team players so —- em. The pitchers will go to the pen if told to do so, but do not expect them to be happy campers.
    .
    My wish list is about down to Jose Leclerc. He is 24 with 4 years control after 2018. In 38.2 IP he has a 2.33 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, .154 Batting Avg. Against, and 1 HR allowed. That is better than any of the Dodger non closer relievers. And Jansen has a slightly better ERA and WHIP, but not as good BAA or HRs allowed. If Sean Doolittle became available, he would be ideal even as a rental.
    .
    I just do not know how you count on pitchers with arm problems to come back fully healthy.

    1. AC,
      ~
      Ferguson, May, Gonsolin, Buehler, Urias, and Santana plus the new international signing seem better to me than Dejong, Deleon, Oaks, and that group of pitchers. I think with two back to back rookie of the years our window will stay open for a while.

      1. I do not deny that the Dodgers have some very good young talent, but my observations are that fans in general have a tendency to overrate their prospects while downgrading other teams’. Dodger fans are no different. It is fine to be happy with Ferguson, May, Gonsolin, and Santana. All fine prospects, and should make a ML roster if not the Dodgers. But why is everyone so quick to pooh-pooh the Padres prospects when 4 of their pitchers are rated better than all, while their 5th rated pitcher is rated better than all except May. Gore is rated the #1 LHP prospect in all of MLB. If the Dodger prospects are all going to succeed, what points to the Padres not succeeding, other than they are not Dodger prospects.
        .
        I am a Dodgers fan first and foremost. But I scour the minor leagues for talent, and there is plenty of outstanding talent not with one of the Dodgers affiliates. With continually drafting as late as the Dodgers routinely do, the opportunities to pick up a Mackenzie Gore are not very good. If Walker Buehler was not injured, there is no way he would have been available when the Dodgers picked in 2015. I am sure the Dodgers are hoping the same happens with Michael Grove. The other teams have talented prospects, and it just so happens that the Braves and Padres have more than anyone else. The Padres have 4 players rated #1 in their position, none of the Dodgers do. This does not diminish who the Dodgers have, and FAZ has done a very good job of supplementing this talent with trades, international signings, and minor league contracts.
        .
        When I say that I fear that the window may be closing, that does not mean that it will close after this year. But the Dodgers arguably were the best team in the NL for the last two years. Next year that will not be the case, and in 2020, the Padres will be extremely competitive. I think the Mets, Giants, and Nationals are being stubborn and acting like the post 2011 Phillies who thought they could keep piecing together an older team. Why don’t the Nats dump Harper, Gio, Murphy? Because they think they can somehow get it going the last 55 games or so and make the playoffs, and then with Scherzer and Strasburg, they will be competitive. The same is true with the Giants and MadBum, and the Mets with deGrom and Thor. If the ChiSox can trade Chris Sale, certainly the Mets can trade one of their young stud pitchers, and the Giants can trade MadBum. Windows open and close, and it is how teams react to when it is closing that will keep them competitive. The Dodgers have too many OF, too many mediocre relievers, no real solid #2 in the rotation, but yet they are still the
        number 3 team in the NL W-L %. They are going to need to lose some of that logjam and mediocrity to pick up some talent in the lower ranks to help with the long run. And it should not impact this year with talent already available to step into the OF.
        .
        I would be happy with one more move…Jose Leclerc. That would help this year, and it will help keep the window open for next years as well.

        1. There’s no doubt about SD talent but we can’t fotget about the youth of the Dodgers are no longer considered “prospect”. I trust FAZ to continue to find young talent. It’s what they do best. I think some people doubt the Padres because if their history. I don’t but I have faith in the Dodgers using their resources wisely.

      2. Old friend alert

        Chase
        De Jong was sent to Minnesota alongside Ryan Costello for Zack Duke on Monday, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports

  7. I fully believe that the Dodgers will add one relief pitcher whether it be Kela, Herrera, or LeClerc. Alexander is throwing well and Shaggy looks better but neither knew where the hell the ball was going early in the season. Who’s to say that won’t happen again in the playoffs. Doc didn’t trust Fields or Baez last post-season. Why would this year be any different? Hudson, Floro, Liberatore, Garcia, Goeddel, Rosscup in a big series? No thank you. Urias? I sure hope so, but I’m not counting on it. Shoulders generally take two years and they’ve haven’t mastered shoulders. I think it is great that he’s throwing 91-92, but after watching Ryu and Nomo years ago return from shoulders I’m not counting on Urias this season. He may be throwing 92, but is that 92 with command?

    1. That’s my prediction too: one closer to set up for kj, probably kela. I like archer but dont think we’ll give up what they think is fair value. If they blink we’ll happily take him. But as othets said, he’d be as much about the future than now. As we saw with machado, we mean business this year.

  8. You don’t “boar” me Mark, but you do “bore” me. 🙂

    Urias should in no way be counted on in 2019. If anything he needs to babied, and be allowed to return to form gradually, with the idea in mind that he will be fully ready in 2019. Putting him in stressful, pressurized situations would likely expose him to risk of further injury.

  9. Mark, feel free to jump all over me for the word I left out of my second sentence in the previous post. 🙂

    1. Nah – I make too many typos to do that.

      Here’s why :
      Image and video hosting by TinyPic

      I was in a motorcycle accident in high school that limited the use of the finger next to the little finger, but a few moths ago, the tendon completely detached. It makes it difficult to type.

  10. Roberto Osuna reportedly traded to Jays for Ken Giles. And I’m certain that Osuna was never considered by the Dodgers, and justifiably so.

  11. Astros have a very solid GM. nobody knows if the changes are going to work or not but they are doing the right moves Velander prince and now Osuna but a very solid cacher

  12. Kasten already had one of his teams win 14 consecutive Division championships. San Diego will just have to accept a Wild Card invite into the playoffs. I base that on nothing.

  13. I think Stripling needed a break to reenergize. That is what I dislike about the all star game. I think that is a time where guys get a chance to restart. However, going to the all star game stresses a weary guy even more. I don’t think the homerun derby helped Muncy. I am in favor of the all star game for the league exposure. I just personally don’t like the all star stuff but it’s great for those that do. I poster earlier that stripling was pitching worse than anybody except Buehler. Let me clarify that I am very confident that Buehler will do well in the rotation. I just meant since the dL trip he is not back to where he was and he is not an option for the bpen so strip would be the most likely bpen option. Strip going to dL for a minor injury is even better.

  14. I didnt watch the allstar game. Our manager didnt do something stupid like have him pitch two innings did he?

    1. I certainly did not watch it but if Roberts did that it was indeed stupid. I just saw on the news and have read that stripling gave up 2 bombs. I was really high on Roberts when he first got to the Dodgers. He had the guts of a burglar and a sense of urgency. He has been manager of the year and gotten to the last game of the season despite his many asinine moves so all hail Roberts.

      1. I think hes an excellent manager and I also think he got outmanaged in the world series. It happens.

  15. The Nationals have switched course, and have now said that Harper is available. I am not in the Harper bandwagon, but maybe FAZ is. If Harper is available, might not Doolittle be? He, I would be very interested in.
    .
    In the never ending saga known as Chris Archer trade rumors, one continuing comment I cannot get used to…”Archer hasn’t had an ERA below 4.00 since 2015, but he’s under control through 2021 at a reasonable average annual salary of $9.2 million.” Since when is mediocrity worth $9M+, when you can get better than mediocrity for much less:
    Not one Dodger starter (all 7) have an ERA north of 4.00. So who would Archer replace?
    The Dodgers can probably find multiple starters for a lot less than $9M with less than 4.00 ERA. He is not the strikeout and 200+ inning he used to be. Stay with what they need…8th inning lockdown reliever – bridge to Jansen.

    1. I’m sure the dodgers have their own internal metrics that evaluate what dozier is worth. Even though I like him I think there’s a chance his decline has started and we need to be careful. Could be fools gold. I admit his personality is amazing but that shouldnt count one bit in a championship run.

  16. Shin-soo choo just put a beautiful swing on a robbie ray fastball. 3 run oppo hr now 3-1 Texas over arizona.

  17. So will we be surprised in the next 20 hours about a trade deadline acquisition? Is Joc, Puig, Barnes, Toles a Dodger by tomorrow night?

    1. I could see toles traded.
      It’s like he doesn’t have any spot at all. Maybe culbertson 2.0 but who knows. Others on the most likely to be traded lust: Rios, alvarez. Joc, Puig, or barnes would qualify as major surprises unless we somehow acquire a new backup catcher. I dont see it. Puig I guess but at th his point might as well ride or die.

  18. I haven’t seen enough of Archer to be convinced that he would be an asset to the Dodgers. But based on what I do know,it seems to me that he may be better than his most recent ERA’s. From what I’ve read, his FIP has been consistently in the mid-3’s. Also consider that he pitches in the AL East, home of numerous HR friendly ballparks, and unlike in the NL, he’s had to face DH’s. In that respect, his numbers compare favorably up against the Dodger starters who have spent their time in the pitcher friendly NL West sans the DH.

    And based on his stats, it appears that Sean Doolittle should be someone the Dodgers are targeting.

  19. Why are hits better than walks? From Dodgers’ Digest;
    “All said and done, they stranded 11 on the night and went 0-for-5 with RISP, getting seven walks but just five hits.”

    Can’t score runs that way.

  20. Had plenty of chances, but couldn’t get the job done.

    Can’t put my finger on it, but I’m just not feeling it this year.

  21. The fallout from the Osuna trade is already starting. I do not know how many of you have seen the video surveillance of the attack, but why Osuna is not in jail rather than being allowed to pitch for the WS Champs is beyond me. I will not post it, because it is rather violent. After the video became available Justin Verlander said this about Osuna…”you man. I hope the rest of your life without baseball is horrible. You deserve all that is coming your way!” McCullers also had some rather unkind things to say. “The issue here is no one cared as much until a video was leaked & now everyone is outraged!? This is the reality of domestic violence. It’s always brutal, always sickening. We must fight for the victims, video or not. He should be in jail. If you need help, find it. People care.”
    .
    After the trade, Verlander was approached again, and this time he was couching his comments a bit but his feelings have not changed. Per JV…”It’s a tough situation, I think the thing for us to remember here is that the details have not come to light. We don’t know the whole story. Obviously, I’ve said some pretty inflammatory things about stuff like this in the past. I stand by those words.”
    .
    For me, I beleive the tough situation is him trying to keep his mouth shut because Jeff Luhnow just went out and traded for the . Verlander did say that Luhnow did not talk to him before making decision. He did leave it open that Luhnow did speak with others on the team.JV is known to be involved in the domestic abuse cause, so this is going to be a very uncomfortable clubhouse.
    .
    Some things are just much more important than winning a baseball game. I have a lot less respect for Jeff Luhnow now than before yesterday. FAZ detractors can criticize them all they want, but they were never rumored to be in on this sub-human.

    1. I won’t watch that video. But if it’s anything like the Raven’s running back video I don’t want to watch. I can already imagine what an athlete can do do someone if he gets violent. F him, and F Houston for picking him up. I hope teams treat Osuna like he treated the female.

      More importantly, since Keola is gone, I wonder if AC gets his wish and we get Leclerc?

    2. I am so glad the Dodgers took the high road, as they did with Chapman. Screw this bully/coward. A line line off his ignorant noggin would be a good start. And screw the Astros for putting baseball ahead of doing the right thing.

  22. I am wondering why he will be allowed in the US. Perhaps if he is convicted and then owns a criminal record he will no longer be able to return to the US.

  23. Disregarding this abuse case or any specific case, I generally want to allow a person that is allowed to not be in prison to be able to work and make a living and find the job that they are best at. If fans and teammates create an intolerable situation for that player, then the best job for that player is out of the limelight and not in a place where a small group of people spend so much time together. An interstate truck driver is an isolated job for instance.

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