Outside of Clayton Kershaw's dominance the Dodgers have been very ordinary this season. Currently the team has a record of 25-23, which is good for second place in the NL West and 4.5 games behind the red-hot Giants. The mediocre start can be attributed to a number of possibilities, including the off-season loss of Zack Greinke or the sluggish offensive starts of Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig, and Corey Seager. Despite the highest payroll in baseball the Dodgers also have some of the best prospects in the minors. On Friday night they will unveil 19-year-old Julio Urias, who will be making his major league debut on the road against the defending National League champion New York Mets.
According to Baseball America Urias entered the 2016 season as the best pitching prospect in baseball and number four overall behind Seager, Byron Buxton, and Yoan Moncada. The Dodgers signed him out of Mexico in 2012 when Urias was just 16 years old and he has since dominated every level of the minors. In 263.1 innings over four seasons he has struck out an eye-popping 308 batters with a 2.63 ERA.
As a Mexican born player Urias' impact on the Dodgers will extend culturally as Los Angeles has a very large Mexican population that will only increase his star power. He is arguably the country's most talented prospect of all time with the ability to develop into an ace for years to come. In 2016 at the AAA level he has a 1.10 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 41 innings.
It's unclear what the plan for Urias is after Friday night. The Dodgers have already said they are considering using him out of the big league bullpen later this season, which makes sense given his young age and probable innings limit. He has not thrown more than 82 pitches in a game this year. However, even as a reliever Urias could have a big impact on the playoff race due to his high strikeout totals and low number of walks allowed. He won't be in the bullpen for long though and could follow in the great line of Dodgers lefties that includes Sandy Koufax, Fernando Valenzuela, and Kershaw.