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June 17, 2013

Monday Morning Ten Pack

June 17

by BP Prospect Staff


Julio Urias, LHP, Dodgers (Low-A Great Lakes)
At the end of the day, the minor-league story of the year might be the prospect propulsion of 16-year-old Julio Urias, a left-handed pitcher recently signed out of Mexico. The Dodgers decided to send the precocious arm to the Midwest League to begin his professional career, a move that had an initial scent of novelty, but the reality is far from a stunt. Urias is a special talent, with a preternatural feel for his craft and the type of stuff that could one day play at the top of a major-league rotation. Listed at 5’11’’, the southpaw is actually closer to 6’1’’, with a projectable frame and a present fastball that routinely touches 95 mph on the gun. From an easy, repeatable delivery, Urias works 91-93 with the heater and has two secondary pitches that he can drop for strikes in any situation. While it’s easy to get excited about a would-be high school sophomore pitching in a full-season league, the real excitement comes from the reality that Urias is a very legit talent on the fast track to prospect fame. It’s remarkable for a 16-year-old to get outs at the full-season level, much less miss more than a bat an inning. That’s just insanity. I’m drinking the Boing! when it comes to Urias. I’m all in. –Jason Parks

Jose Dominguez, RHP, Dodgers (Triple-A Albuquerque)
A pop-up prospect in the Dodgers system, Dominguez has raced to Triple-A on the strength of his 80-grade fastball that is routinely reaching 100-101 mph. The 22-year-old righty is something of a late bloomer. After signing in 2007, he pitched three years in the Dominican Summer League and didn’t reach full-season ball until 2012. He also served a 50-game PED suspension in 2010 followed by a 25-game ban last year.

The Dominican Republic native earned his recent promotion to Triple-A Albuquerque after a strong early-season stint in the Double-A Chattanooga bullpen. With the Lookouts, he yielded eight hits in 17 1/3 innings, walking eight and fanning 28. Dominguez relies heavily on his elite fastball but also mixes in an average slider. If he continues to throw strikes, he could become a big-league bullpen option for the Dodgers this summer. –Jason Cole

Martin Perez, LHP, Rangers (Triple-A Round Rock)
Perez appeared well on his way to winning the Rangers’ no. 5 starter job in spring training before a broken wrist sidelined him for nearly two months. The left-hander has come back strong, posting a 2.10 ERA through five Triple-A starts. He showed dominant stuff against Albuquerque on July 12, flashing above average command of a lively 92-96 mph fastball (T97) to go along with a curveball-changeup-slider mix.

It’s easy to get prospect fatigue with Perez, who has been considered among the Rangers’ top prospects since 2008. But at 22, he’s just three months older than no. 1 overall draft pick Mark Appel. Perez is making definite strides with his mental maturity on the mound, and his stuff remains excellent. The prospect could find his way back to the majors soon, and if he continues to control his delivery and plus stuff, he’ll have a chance to stick. –Jason Cole

Austin Hedges, C, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore)
After an injury-shortened month of May, Hedges has been on a tear so far in June, making a lot of hard contact and driving in runs. The progress with the stick is significant because Hedges is already the best defensive catcher in the minors, with a very strong arm, lightning fast release, soft hands, quick feet, and game-calling skills that rival most major-league backstops. The better the bat the bigger the ceiling, and if Hedges can find a way to hit .250 at the highest level with some pop, he’s going to be an impact talent because of the quality of the glove, which could make him a perennial Gold Glove candidate. If the bat happens to play even higher, Hedges could be a star. His defensive chops are that good. For more on Hedges, check out Jason Cole’s fantastic prospect video. –Jason Parks

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Related Content:  Minnesota Twins,  Prospects,  Scouting,  Minor Leagues

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