Dodgers’ pitching prospect Walker Buehler has been dealing all season, and he just got rewarded again.
The Dodgers have officially promoted top pitching prospect Walker Buehler to Triple-A Oklahoma City. It was a move that has been anticipated over the past few days, but the front office finally made it official.
Buehler was promoted from Single-A to Double-A earlier in the season, so this promotion continues a meteoric rise through the system for the 2015 first-rounder, who missed almost all of the last two years to his 2015 Tommy John Surgery. He was limited to just five innings last fall as he worked himself back from his layoff.
Buehler was a top-5 talent in his draft, according to many, and arguably the best player on a championship team that featured the first and eighth overall picks in the same draft.
However, an injury scare at the beginning of the 2014-2015 college season, along with a slight dip in performance, dropped his stock all the way into the Dodgers’ laps at number 24. He has now become arguably the best prospect in a strong farm system.
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Between Rancho Cucamonga (A) and Tulsa (AA), Buehler has a 2.89 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and an absurd 91 strikeouts in 65.1 innings. However, his numbers did understandably decline once being promoted, as he faced stiffer competition. His ERA and WHIP jumped from 1.10 and 0.80 at Single-A to 3.49 and 1.12 at Double-A. His opponents batting average against jumped up to .225, but in fairness, that is still an excellent number to hold.
His ability to miss bats stayed with him (11.6 K/9 with Tulsa), and his stuff is the reason why he has such a promising future. These and his journey back from TJ surgery are reasons why his jump in numbers shouldn’t be scrutinized too much.
He’s an exceptional talent, one who might be fronting the Dodgers’ rotation in a few years.
There is speculation of Buehler being called-up later on in the season as relief help and our own Hector Ponce covered whether not that would be a good idea or not. This promotion may have occurred right now to give him a few months in Triple-A to see how he adjusts to even more advanced hitters. Then, if all goes well, he’d be placed in LA’s bullpen when the rosters expand in September.
He definitely has the stuff to come out of the pen, headlined by a mid to high nineties fastball and potentially plus secondary offerings.
Whatever the case, Walker Buehler has taken another step closer on his journey to Los Angeles and is primed for a 2018 debut at the latest, something that should get fans excited.