1. Walker Buehler
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After being selected with the 24th pick in the 2015 draft, Buehler has taken an interesting road to becoming the nearly unanimous top prospect. As discussed in an earlier article, he underwent Tommy John surgery immediately after being drafted and rose three levels in the minors just this year.
At each stop he was lights out, posting a combined ERA of 3.44 over 65.1 innings and striking out 91. His high strikeout rate and high velocity have landed him a spot in Triple-A where a lot of people have rumored him to make a move to the bullpen for the year to maybe make the leap to the big leagues this fall. His stuff is certainly major league quality, but there are always limitations on players this young as well as the hesitation of being a TJ recipient.
The Vanderbilt standout struggled in his first start at Oklahoma City and did not manage to get out of the first inning while allowing four runs and not retiring a batter. That was just a bump in the road for Buehler, and his dominance of the two levels before this are great evidence that he will soon succeed in OKC. He bounced back in his second start Wednesday going five innings and allowing one run with nine strike outs.
For now, it’s probably not likely the righty, who turns 23 on Friday, will ascend all the way to the top this summer, but he had made his presence felt. While many began the year touting Yadier Alvarez as the only untouchable arm in the Dodgers’ system, it now seems that Buehler has claimed that throne.