7. Julio Urias, first appearance
I am predicting the Los Angeles Dodgers to have seven all-stars on the National League All-Star Team in 2020, which will be the most the team has had since 1962 when the MLB used to play two All-Star Games.
Again, if you follow my work here at LA Sports Hub then you will know that I am extremely high on Julio Urias this season, so much so that he is on my roto fantasy baseball team and I am trusting him to be one of my team’s biggest surprise contributors.
Urias was sneaky good in 2019. He finished eighth in all of baseball in ERA for pitchers that had at least 70 innings pitched last season and had elite statcast numbers. He ranked in the 100th percentile in both average exit velocity and hard-hit rate while also ranking in the top 13 percentile in expected batting average, expected weighted on-base percentage and expected slugging.
That is a fancy way of saying that Urias had elite stuff last season.
With no innings restriction on Urias this season, he is finally going to get the chance to blossom into the elite starting pitcher that the Dodgers saw in him when he was 15 years old. And while he is probably a year or two away from challenging Walker Buehler for ace status, he is going to put together his first all-star-caliber season in 2020.
Outside of unfortunately hitting Willie Calhoun in the jaw with a fastball, Urias looked really strong in his second Spring Training outing, throwing three shutout innings allowing one hit, one walk and striking out three.
Three innings of work in Spring Training are not even close to enough of a sample size to predict Urias to be an all-star but it helps justify the gut feeling I already had for him.