Dodgers Report: Alex Rodriguez

If not for Yasiel Puig, the Los Angeles Dodgers wouldn't have the most advanced 16-year-old pitcher in the world

Dodgers scouts, led by scouting director Logan White, were in Mexico City last June to watch Puig's workouts when they decided to swing by a showcase of some young Mexican League players in Oaxaca, a two-hour flight south.

[+] EnlargeUrias
AP Photo/Brian WesterholtJulio Urias was 15 when Dodgers scouts saw him, and a year later he's pitching in the minor leagues at Class-A Great Lakes.
The Dodgers had money again and they were in a hurry to sign as many international players as they could before new limits went into place on July 2.

White has a 14-year-old son who plays high-level club and travel baseball, so he has a good idea what players that age are capable of. When he witnessed Julio Urias, a 15-year-old left-handed pitcher, touching 92 mph with his fastball, he knew he might be onto something.

"When I saw this kid, I said, 'My goodness, he has really got a chance to be something special,' " White recalls.

He already is. The Dodgers had to wait until Urias turned 16 on Aug. 12 before signing him. They were able to land Urias and three other prospects for $1.8 million. Some teams heard rumors that Urias couldn't see well out of his left eye, which has a saggy appearance due to a tumor he had removed as a child. The Dodgers did enough medical research to know that Urias could see fine out of both eyes.

Because three-quarters of that money goes to their Mexican professional teams, only $450,000 of that counted against the Dodgers' no-luxury-tax limit of $2.9 million.

Urias was so special, the Dodgers decided to start him at low Class-A ball in Great Lakes, Michigan. He's 1-0 with a 3.12 ERA so far in five starts and, oh yeah, he's the youngest player to compete at that level in at least 20 years.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Clayton Kershaw
WINS ERA SO IP
21 1.77 239 198
OTHER LEADERS
BAY. Puig .296
HRA. Gonzalez 27
RBIA. Gonzalez 116
RY. Puig 92
OPSY. Puig .863
ERAC. Kershaw 1.77
SOC. Kershaw 239