Urias now in bigs, Nats' Turner could be on his way soon
By Matt Castello
"Finally" seems like a strange word to use in response to the promotion of a teenager to the big leagues. But given the hype that's surrounded Dodgers lefty phenom Julio Urias, that's been the reaction to the news that the 19-year-old was promoted to make his Major League debut Friday against the Mets.
Urias leads the Pacific Coast League in ERA (1.10) and WHIP (0.78), and he has been sensational in recent weeks for Triple-A Oklahoma City -- as evidenced by his current streak of 27 scoreless innings. He sports three plus pitches (fastball, changeup and curveball), and his control and command have improved each year since his professional debut in 2013.
The only potential obstacle to his fantasy potential is an innings limit, which will likely be in the 100-120 range considering Urias hasn't thrown more than 87 2/3 innings in a pro season.
The Dodgers discussed using Urias out of the bullpen before deciding to bring him up as a starter, and the team could go with that strategy if he nears his limit. A move to the 'pen would sap Urias of much of his fantasy value, but he could still help teams in categories such as K's, WHIP and ERA.
While he's in the Dodgers' rotation, Urias immediately slots in as the club's second most talented starter -- trailing only a guy by the name of Clayton Kershaw. Urias had a shaky first outing, however, allowing three runs on five hits and four walks over 2 2/3 innings.
Below are MLBPipeline.com's updated rankings of the top 10 fantasy baseball prospects in the Minor Leagues. They're based solely on expected 2016 fantasy production in the Major Leagues, in contrast to the Top 100 Prospects list, which reflects long-term value in all phases of the game.
1. Trea Turner, SS, Nationals (Previous rank: 1)
Turner reclaims the top spot on this list as Danny Espinosa's average continues to hover around .200. It's only a matter of time until the 22-year-old, who continues to hit (.306/.372/.447) and steal bases (15 steals in 43 games) at Triple-A Syracuse, displaces the Nationals' current starting shortstop. His speed will immediately pay dividends for fantasy owners looking to boost their stolen-base totals.
2. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates (Previous rank: 2)
The second-highest-ranked right-handed pitching prospect in baseball (behind only the Nationals' Lucas Giolito) would provide an upgrade over Jeff Locke as the Pirates attempt to make the postseason for the fourth consecutive year. Glasnow is tied for first in the International League with Blake Snell in strikeouts (63), and his ERA is considerably lower than Snell's (2.16 to 3.88) thanks to his combination of one of the best fastballs in the Minors and a plus curveball.
3. Blake Snell, LHP, Rays (Previous rank: 3)
The Rays' top prospect turned in his roughest start of the season (5 1/3 IP, 5 ER) for Triple-A Durham on May 26, but his Minor League track record is superb. Moreover, he showed he's more than capable of pitching well in the big leagues in his Major League debut against the Yankees on April 23, when he allowed one run in five innings. If Matt Moore continues to struggle, Snell could replace him in Tampa Bay's rotation.
4. Robert Stephenson, SP, Reds (Previous rank: 4)
While strikeouts (four in 12 innings) didn't come easily in his first two Major League starts, Stephenson showed he's capable of getting big league hitters out when he scattered three hits in seven innings of one-run ball vs. a strong Rockies lineup on April 19. He needs to continue to refine his command, but he should be back up soon to help a struggling Reds' rotation.
5. Willson Contreras, C, Cubs (Previous rank: 10)
The Cubs' catcher of the future hasn't stopped hitting at Triple-A (.320/.414/.503) since he claimed the Southern League batting title last season (.333 average). He's shown more power recently, hitting five homers in May, which nearly matches his total from last year (eight). With Miguel Montero scuffling since his return from the disabled list, Contreras could wind up as the primary backstop for Chicago by the All-Star break.
6. Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins (Previous rank: Unranked)
Though it might be an understatement to say that Berrios' first Major League stint didn't go as well as the Twins would've hoped (10.20 ERA), the youngster still has a ton of potential in his right arm. While he struck out 20 in 15 innings over four starts in the bigs, he also walked 12. That was surprising considering he posted a 175/38 K:BB ratio last year in 166 1/3 innings between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Rochester. But if Berrios continues to baffle hitters at Triple-A the way he did before his promotion, he should return to the Majors in short order.
7. Tim Anderson, SS, White Sox (Previous rank: Unranked)
Chicago's first-round Draft pick in 2013 is hitting .321/.349/.417 with 10 stolen bases in 13 attempts in his first taste of Triple-A. Among International League players, Anderson ranks fourth in batting average, first in hits (60), second in runs (29) and tied for sixth in steals. With Jimmy Rollins struggling for the White Sox, Anderson could soon see playing time in the Majors.
Taillon will skip his next start for Triple-A Indianapolis, but Bucs fans shouldn't fret, as "it's all part of the plan," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. The right-hander missed the past two seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery and a hernia, but the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 Draft has been sensational (1.82 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 51 K's in 49 1/3 innings) since making his 2016 debut in mid-April. Taillon has arguably presented an even stronger case, at least statistically, than Glasnow to join the Pirates' rotation.
9. Orlando Arcia, SS, Brewers (Previous rank: 7)
If the Brewers were a shortstop away from contending, Arcia would rank higher on this list. Instead, the club is in rebuilding mode and have little incentive to call up its top prospect and start his service-time clock. However, his stellar defense helps improve his odds to make his Major League debut this year.
Among the three southpaws the Reds acquired from Kansas City for Johnny Cueto last year, Reed is the only one who hasn't yet pitched for the Reds. But he could end up being the best of a trio that also included Brandon Finnegan and John Lamb. Reed has been consistently strong in his first season at Triple-A, racking up 40 K's in 40 2/3 innings and allowing two earned runs or fewer in each of his seven starts. His 2.21 ERA puts him in the top 10 in the International League and his 1.03 WHIP places him in fifth.
In big leagues
Urias, LHP, Dodgers (Previous rank: 6)
Joey Gallo, 3B/OF, Rangers (Previous rank: 8)
Jesse Winker, OF, Reds (Previous rank: 5)
Matt Castello is an editorial producer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Matt_Castello. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.