Julio Urias moving up the strikeout leaderboard for baseball season 19 or younger
On July 21st, Julio Urias broke Joe Moellers fifty-four-year-old record for LAD strikeouts for a teenager by fanning four in his 7/21/16 start giving him 48 compared to Joe’s 46. Since that time Julio Urias has struck out another 28 giving him 76 for the season and is now tied with Don Gullet for 8th place among National League teenagers in strikeouts after 1958. Urias is 12th overall.
As you can see, Urias also holds the 2nd highest SO9 rate of any teenager since the LAD came into existence in 1958. Just Dwight Gooden and the infamous Rick Ankiel have fanned hitters at a better rate then Julio.
As great as all these teenagers were, you don’t see any hall of fame pitchers here. Gooden didn’t fall victim to arm issues but to drugs. Gary Nolan had a massive bone spur, and the story about that will turn your gut when you see how disposable baseball felt about their greatest assets. Joe Posnanki details how Frank Jobe saved Gary Nolan’s career.
He was 18 years old when he made his first start in the big leagues — he and Feller are the only two pitchers in baseball history to strike out 10 or more big league batters in a game before they turned 19 years old.
“Pitchers have to throw with pain,” his Reds manager Sparky Anderson told him. “Bob Gibson says every pitch he’s ever thrown cut him like a knife. You gotta pitch with pain, kid.”
Larry Dierker threw 1250 major league innings by the age of 23. Mike McCormick would win a Cy Young at age 28 in 1967 for the Giants but he was never really more than an average pitcher. Ray Sadecki became famous for getting traded from the Cardinals to the Giants for Orland Cepeda in 1966. Cepeda would lead the Cardinals to the 1967 World Championship while winning the MVP and eventually hit his way into the HOF.
The AL is kinder to teenagers with HOF Bert Blyleven and Catfish Hunter in the top ten. King Felix is represented at 11 and I’d think he has a good shot at the HOF.
Below are just the NL pitchers with 50 K’s before the age of 20 from 1958.