12. Jose Urena, RHP
Drafted: Undrafted free agent from Dominican Republic
Age: 21 Height: 6'3'' Weight: 172 lbs.
Jose Urena has come a long ways in the past three years. From signing out of the D.R. with little to no hype to where he is now, at the forefront of the Marlins pitching renaissance. With Urena's deadly fastball/slider combination, he has a chance to become a solid #3 starting pitcher in the Marlins rotation for years to come. Sure, Urena has some mechanical issues to clear up and he needs to improve his changeup, but with his frame and potential, Urena should be able to fix most of these issues in 2013. Look for Jose Urena to gain much more well-deserved attention after he starts to put up some numbers this season.
Jose Urena's first professional season was in 2010, where he pitched in the Gulf Coast League. Urena became the rare GCL "workhorse," pitching in 82 2/3 innings with a 0.8 walks per nine innings and 2.39 FIP. However, Urena's first real test came in 2011, pitching for Low-A Jamestown. He did not look overly impressive in 15 starts (3.92 FIP and 5.9 strikeouts per nine innings), but Urena was still just a teenager. In 2012, Jose Urena really started to show glimpses of his wondrous potential. In 22 starts and five relief appearances at Greensboro, Urena posted a 3.61 FIP, 6.57 FIP, and 1.89 walks per nine innings. Urena should start the 2013 season at High-A Jupiter and if everything goes at planned, he could be at Double-A Jacksonville by the end of the season.
Jose Urena throws a fastball, a slider, a curveball, and a changeup. His fastball sits at 94-95 mph, but when pitching in relief, he has been recorded at up to 97 mph. His slider is probably his second-best pitch, behind his fastball. His changeup still needs a ton of work, as it can get left up in the zone and it seems as if he is not completely comfortable throwing it once he is in trouble. Overall, if Urena can work on mechanical adjustments like having a consistent release point and maybe not falling too much off to one side, he could have the repertoire required of a major league pitcher.
Jose Urena is one of the more interesting, underrated prospects in the Miami farm system. Due to his potent arsenal of pitches, projectable frame, and strong work ethic, it's not unreasonable to imagine Urena pitching in the middle of a major league rotation in the upcoming years. Jose Urena is my favorite pitching prospect in the Marlins minors, so maybe I'm just seeing him through a tinted view, but it seems to me that Urena has what it takes to be in Miami by late 2014.