With all of the Miami Marlins' pitching prospect putting up huge numbers wherever they go pitchers like Jose Urena sometimes get lost in the mix. However, with the progress Urena has made this season, he deserves more attention due to his fabulous numbers in Greensboro and improved velocity. Still just twenty years old, Urena has had one of the top five seasons amongst pitchers in the South Atlantic League.
Jose Urena stands around 6'3'' and weighs roughly 170 pounds. Because Urena does have a projectable frame, as he adds weight, his velocity and numbers could see a spike. He also needs to improve his balance if he gains weight because even at his current weight, his landing point can be inconsistent.
Urena's fastball sits around 94-95 MPH, but I have gotten reports that he has touched 96 and 97 multiple times this season. Last season, Urena was barely throwing 95, let alone touching 97. If used only as a reliever, I feel confident that Urena could dial his fastball up to 98 or even 99 MPH.
Urena also throws a changeup and a slider, both of which are developing slower than his fastball. His slider is his outpitch, but he doesn't have as much command of it as other pitchers. If Urena reaches his potential, he will need to work on these two pitches a lot more.
In 2010, Urena pitched in eighty-two innings in the GCL. Urena stood out that season due to his crazy-low walk rate (0.76 BB/9) and of course, his plus velocity. Last year, Urena pitched in Low-A Jamestown for fifteen starts. His BB/9 saw dramatic increases over his GCL number. Also, Urena only struck out 5.94 batters per nine innings, which isn't very good, even in the NYPL.
This season, Urena has had a huge season in Greensboro. In twenty-five appearances (twenty starts) Urena has a 3.14 ERA with a 3.56 K/BB. Urena was used as a reliever back at the start of the season, but he proved he can pitch in the rotation fairly quickly. Urena has already pitched 126 innings for Greensboro, which is much more than his previous career-high of 82 in 2010.
Jose Urena has the ceiling of a #3 starter. That's a pretty valuable prospect in any organization. Even though the Marlins appear to have plenty of high-ceiling pitching prospects, things never go as planned, and Urena could take advantage of his opportunity. Jose Urena is my favorite Marlins' sleeper prospect, and with his performanc this season, and lack of attention, he should be yours as well.