Before the start of the 2017, the Miami Marlins weren’t sure if they could keep Jose Urena.
It’s a good thing they did. Urena, who began the year in the Marlins’ bullpen, has become a solid starter – one who the team has counted on due to injuries in the rotation.
According to Andre C. Fernandez of the Miami Herald, Urena is 6-2 this season with a 3.60 ERA in 10 starts and has a 3.33 ERA if you add in six relief appearances he made prior to his transition to the rotation on May 7.
Urena has surpassed his previous win total for his career as a starter over that span. He entered this season with a 4-13 record and a 5.33 ERA in 21 previous starts.
And in Urena’s only two losses, he gave up a combined three earned runs over 11 2/3 innings
While other starters have struggled, Urena has taken the ball to the bump and excelled. It’s hard to imagine there ever being a discussion about whether to keep him on the roster or release him and fear losing his arm to another team. At the start of Spring Training, Urena was out of options and could not the organization’s minor league farm system. Surely if he was released, some other team would scoop him up.
It would seem he has a permanent place on the Miami Marlins Major League roster.
Urena’s success is a story of being in the right place at the right time. He won his fifth consecutive decision on Friday, which is the longest streak the team has had since Jose Fernandez won eight straight games last season. Could Urena become the workhorse of the rotation? That’s a matter of continued consistency and balance amongst the other four starters.
“Every start builds up my confidence,” Urena said. “One has to believe they belong up here and has what it takes to succeed.”
The 25-year-old Dominican star signed with the Marlins in 2009. He spent time between Triple-A New Orleans and the parent club last season, which may have contributed to his lack of consistency in his time in the Majors. Now that he has found a home on the 25-man roster, more will be expected of him this year.
The Miami Marlins are 6-1 in his last seven starts, something that is not lost on manager Don Mattingly.
“I think you see a guy who’s pitching more,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We know the power’s there. He’s using his changeup. He’s using his slider. It at least makes you think as a hitter.”
If Urena continues to show his ability to eat up innings and win ball games, it will be tough to keep him out of the Miami Marlins rotation. He moved from the bullpen to help the team due to injuries. It will be hard to move him back to a relief role should the team make other changes to its rotation.