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Julio Urias Dodgers: The time is now for ‘The Teenager' to be Called Up

Los Angeles Dodgers top pitching prospect, Julio Urias, threw another six scoreless innings on Friday night, extending his scoreless streak to 27 consecutive innings, and prompting the question: when will he be called up?

He won't be "The Teenager" forever.

At just 19 years of age, Julio Urias is not just the Los Angeles Dodgers top pitching prospect, he might be the best prospect in all of baseball.

Urias continued to be a major topic of discussion in the big leagues on Saturday despite having never pitched in the show.

The left-hander threw five more scoreless innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday night, extending his scoreless streak to 27 consecutive innings.

"Julio continues to excel and dominate Triple-A," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said before his team squared off with San Diego on Saturday. "Everyone knows what he can to do, they know kind of an asset he is."

He lowered his Pacific Coast League leading ERA to a measly 1.10 and has 44 strikeouts in 41 innings.

His performances have been so outstanding, that as Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times pointed out, even the veteran players are asking about him.

"When is Julio Urias coming up? Asked a veteran in the Dodgers clubhouse.

The answer to that question is unknown, but with the bullpen and back end of the starting rotation severely underperforming, that time may come sooner, rather than later. His pitching coach, Matt Herges, thinks he's ready now.

"He's showing he's big league-ready now, in my opinion,” Herges told MiLB.com. “But I don't make those calls. We have some very smart people that make those decisions and they know what they're doing. But right now, he's just dominating Triple-A lineups.

"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. 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 himself is pleased with his progress this season and is not concerned about when he will be called up to the Major Leagues.

"I know that whenever I threw consecutive balls last year, I would lose it," Urias told the LA Times. "Now, if I don't do what I wanted with a certain batter or certain pitch, I move on to the next batter, the next pitch and do better.

"It makes me proud that some people are saying they already want to see me there, but my time will come," he continued. "God's timing is always perfect."

In six of his seven starts this season, Urias has allowed zero runs, with just one bad outing on April 16th, when he allowed four runs against the Nashville Sound. Other than that one blemish on his record, he has surrendered just one run in 37 total innings.

OKC catcher Jack Murphy has been working the majority of Urias’ starts throughout the season and has seen enough from him to believe that he is ready for the big leagues.

“He’s pretty special,” Murphy said. “We talk about it all the time. He’s got a great mentality, a great repertoire of pitches, makes my job easy behind the plate. As much as people ask me and tell me, ‘you did a good job with Julio today,’ there’s a lot of guys who can catch him today. His stuff is fantastic. He’s got a four-pitch mix that he can locate to both sides. So he makes my job easy and he gives a lot of the guys confidence on the team because you know you’re going to be in the game late in the game. He’s the perfect combination of a command guy with power stuff. It’s hard to find that combo.”

The question now is whether or not Urias should be called up to be a reliever this year. The bullpen is a glaring weakness of the Dodgers and bringing him up could be just the spark the Dodgers need. 

Tony Capobianco of the Enid News and Eagle contributed to this story.

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