José Ureña

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Note: This page is for major league pitcher Jose Urena; for others with similar names, click here

José Miguel Ureña Rodriguez

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 2", Weight 195 lb.

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Starting pitcher José Ureña began playing in the Florida Marlins minor league system in 2009, having been signed by scout Sandy Nin on July 18, 2008. He made his major league debut with the now renamed Miami Marlins in 2015

The hurler spent his first two campaigns with the DSL Marlins, including a 5-6, 2.61 season in 2010. He made the Dominican Summer League Mid-Season All-Star squad that year. After an off-year in 2011, he was 9-6 with a 3.38 ERA in 27 games (22 starts) for the Greensboro Grasshoppers in 2012. For the Jupiter Hammerheads in 2013, he was 10-7 with a 3.73 ERA in 27 games (26 starts). He spent 2014 with the Jacksonville Suns and earned a spot on the Southern League Mid-Season All-Star team. He was 13-8, 3.33 in 26 games for Jacksonville, 25 of them starts, logging 162 innings.

Urena was first called up to Miami to make a couple of relief appearances in April of 2015. He got his feet wet by giving up 3 runs in 3 innings of work, but soon went back to the AAA New Orleans Zephyrs, as the Marlins saw his future as a starter and not as a reliever. He went 4-0, 1.21 in his first 6 starts for New Orleans to get a chance to make his first big league start on May 26th against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He gave up 5 runs on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings and was charged with his team's 5-1 loss. He lost again in his second start, on June 1st, but pitched better, allowing 3 runs in 6 innings against the Chicago Cubs. He earned his first win on June 12th, 5-1 over the Colorado Rockies, pitching 6 2/3 innings. He went 1-5, 5.25 in 20 games, including 9 starts.

In 2016, Urena was 4-9, 6.13 in 28 games, 12 of them starts. he also earned his first save and pitched 83 2/3 innings. He moved to starting almost full time in 2017 as 28 of his 34 outings came in the role. He went 14-7, having lowered his ERA to 3.82 while logging 169 2/3 innings. He struck out 113 batters, while walking 64 and compiling 14 hit batsmen, the highest total in the National League that year. With the Marlins having undergone a fire sale after the 2017 season, he was now considered one of the veteran leaders on the team as 2018 started, in spite of just being 26 with a little over two seasons of major league experience. He was designated the Marlins' opening day starter, which meant he would throw the first pitch of the major league season, as the Marlins' opener was the earliest of all of those scheduled on March 29th. The season started poorly, though, as that first pitch was hit for a homer by the Chicago Cubs' leadoff hitter, Ian Happ, and he was charged with an 8-4 loss. In fact, he went 0-7 with a 4.41 ERA over his first 12 starts before finally recording his first win of the year on June 5th. He made the news again on August 15th when he decided to take the law into his own hands and somehow thought it was a good idea to plunk Atlanta Braves leadoff hitter Ronald Acuna with his first pitch of the game, a 97 mph fastball. Acuna had been insanely hot, homering in his last five games, but the gesture led, as could have been expected, to a bench-clearing brawl and to Urena's immediate ejection. Even his manager, Don Mattingly, was reluctant to defend his pitcher after the game. He was handed a six-game suspension coupled with a fine. He appealed the suspension, allowing him to make his next start on August 19th, and ironically it turned out to be the best of his career as he unfurled his first-ever complete game in defeating the Washington Nationals, 12-1, on a two-hitter. After that game, he withdrew his appeal of the suspension and began to serve it immediately. He finished the season at 9-12, 3.98 in 31 starts, with a career high in inning - 174 - and strikeouts - 130.

At that point, Urena seemed to have a bright future ahead of him, but his 2019 season was a tough one as poor performances cost him his spot in the starting rotation midway through - he made 13 starts in 24 appearances. Given his superior stuff, he was given a look as a short reliever and did notch 3 saves, but overall, his numbers were poor as he finished at 4-10, 5.21 with 99 hits allowed in 84 2/3 innings. He did manage to maintain his strikeout and walk rate, with 62 and 26 respectively, so the main issue was the much higher number of hits he allowed. He was given another 5 starts in the abbreviated 2020 season, all of them coming in September as he was one of a number of players on the team to be sidelined by a COVID-19 outbreak at the end of the year that threatened to wipe out the team's season. He went 0-3, 5.40 during those 5 starts, and this time it was his control that failed him: he managed to bring his hit rate back under control - 22 in 23 1/3 innings, but gave up 13 walks while striking out 15. Other young pitchers vaulted past him on the depth chart, and when as a result he was not used in the postseason, which the Marlins reached in what was a major surprise. Following the season, on November 30th, he was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for newly-acquired reliever Adam Cimber and became a free agent. On December 23rd, he was signed by the Detroit Tigers on a one-year deal.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Gabe Lacques: "No rule - written or unwritten - excuses Jose Ureña's 'purpose' pitch to Ronald Acuña Jr.", USA Today, August 15, 2018. [1]

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