2. Walker Buehler, Starting Pitcher, Advanced A
Best Tool: Maturity
The first round draft pick for the Dodgers in 2015, Walker Buehler has quietly been working his way to the top of this list. While most others project Yadier Alvarez as the top pitching prospect because of the potential, Buehler deserves this spot not because of what may happen, but because of what already has.
After battling back through injuries during his senior year at Vanderbilt and his first year in professional baseball, Buehler started flashing signs of excellence last season in side sessions where his fastball was clocked near triple-digits. So far this year in High-A Rancho Cucamonga, the Kentucky native has twirled nine innings of scoreless baseball, with 15 punch outs and one walk.
The most projectable sign that he will be a success is his ability to throw all of his pitches at an elite level, which is why his best tool is his maturity. Most prospects have one tool and are working on developing the rest, which is very common among young pitchers. Despite being only 22-years-old, Buehler already has the fastball and two plus off-speed pitches with his slider and curve. This speaks to his maturity on the mound and is a quality that is distinguishable to any ace in the grande leagues.
With three major league-ready pitches, the next step is just preparing his arm for the work load of a major league starter. After two injuries, there will be no rush with him, but if he keeps pitching this well, he won’t be in the minors for too much longer.