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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Jorge Julio

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 3/3/79, Age: 23, Height: 6’1’’, Weight: 190, Bats: R, Throws: R. Acquired: Expos - Signed out of Venezuela on 2/14/96; traded to Orioles for Ryan Minor on 12/22/00. 2000 Stats (High-A - Jupiter) 2-10, 5.90 ERA, 79 IP, 93 H, 4 HR, 35 BB, 67 K. 2001 Stats (AA - Bowie): 0-0, 7 SV, 0.73 ERA, 12 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 14 K; (AAA - Rochester) 1-2, 12 SV, 3.74 ERA, 43 IP, 39 H, 4 HR, 19 BB, 48 K; (Maj. - Baltimore) 1-1, 3.80 ERA, 21 IP, 25 H, 2 HR, 9 BB, 22 K.
   Happy Birthday to Jorge Julio! Jorge Julio is the sole remnant from the “Ryan Minor Era” in Baltimore, and he certainly has a much better chance at having a meaningful career in sports (outside of the NBA) than Minor. Julio, a Venezuelan product, exhibited his wares at three levels last season, the final stop being Camden Yards itself. He struck out more than a batter per inning at all three stops, was able to keep the ball down reasonably well, and managed to stay on the controlled side of being wild. Julio throws a high-90’s fastball without a lot of movement, a decent slider, and a “keep-‘em-honest” changeup. He has been known to lose quite a bit of velocity when he has to work more than an inning or two, so he has been much more effective when working out of the bullpen. As with anyone who throws above 95 mph, he has been anointed as a “future closer” by someone who supposedly knows something, and in this organization that may be enough to get him the job by itself. In my opinion, Jorge Julio is a prospect because of opportunity much more than talent, much like Antonio Alfonseca was in the Marlins system. If Julio develops that slider into a more consistent breaking pitch, he could be rather difficult to hit, but his minor league statistics only give you the indication that he’ll be a mediocre reliever (closer).
   My disdain for writing about relief “prospects” is probably public knowledge by now. Put simply, Julio is just not that impressive as a pitcher. Sure, he throws hard, but major leaguers can hit any fastball without movement, as evidenced by Jaret Wright, Matt Anderson, Jason Isringhausen, etc. Julio gave up nearly a hit an inning in AAA last year, and over that in the majors. For a reliever, who gets to go out there and throw his best for an inning or two, that’s not good enough. He has no other consistent pitch, and without one, will never be a successful closer, starter, or otherwise dependable member of a major league pitching staff. Knowing the Baltimore system, Julio will probably get a shot at the closer’s role, which is just as well. Why pay someone more than the minimum to be the stopper for a team that won’t win 75 games? Julio will probably always have a tenuous hold on the job if he acquires it at all, and probably will not have a very distinguished career. I can’t even decide whether or not Julio is a step up from Ryan Kohlmeier, the last Orioles closer prospect, so I don’t even know if they’re moving in the right direction. I’d say the two are about equal in potential, so at least they’re not getting worse. Julio reminds me a bit of Esteban Yan (when Yan was this age). Yan has harnessed his stuff over the past few years, and has gotten measurably better results each season. Julio could follow the same path, using a slider instead of a split as a second pitch. I can’t say as that would get me incredibly excited as an Orioles fan, but it’s the most positive spin I can put on him.


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