This new series is one I sort of started last year. Last year I wrote a few posts about Dodgers prospect Jose De Leon. At the time I really liked De Leon (still do actually) and I wanted to show how good a prospect he was to those of you who bothered to read my posts about him.
At the very least it looks like Night Owl did since he said I was writing odes to De Leon, which wasn't wrong. As such I figure I'd do this thing where I write odes about a Dodgers prospect I really like mid-way through the season (BEFORE the draft/international signing period). I'm sure my Dodgers readers wouldn't mind. Last I checked I only had two San-Fran Giants readers (shout-outs to J and Arpsmith) as opposed to at least three Dodgers readers (I'm assuming GCRL still cares about my blog).
So who's my "I really like this Dodgers prospect" guy this year? It's got to be someone good right? Someone who's having a great 2016 and looks poised to take the top Dodgers prospect rankings by storm?
Erm, not quite. Everyone say hello to Walker Buehler. A man who has more cards as a professional baseball player than innings pitched as a professional baseball player.
Walker Buehler was the Dodgers' first round pick in 2015. Shortly before signing it became evident that Buehler had arm issues. Ultimately Buehler ended up signing for less than the slot value and not long afterwards it was revealed that he would require Tommy John surgery that would basically put him out of action for most (if not all) of 2016 and a portion of 2017.
|Gif Courtesy of SB Nation|
The 21 year old 6'2" 175 lbs pitcher was drafted out of Vanderbilt College. The first rounder was born mere months after I was (#IAmOld) and was one of the many notable baseball talents on the 2015 Vanderbilt Commodores. Arm injuries somewhat dropped his value but he was still selected 24th overall.
The righty is armed with a fastball that he commands well that can reach the mid-90's. It's his best pitch at this point in time. Buehler also has a curveball, a slider and a change up. While they're still essentially work in progress pitches, many talent evaluators see them as having the potential to be above average pitches at the big league level. Some even see his curveball as being above average.
So what exactly does Buehler project to be in the future? Well he has the ceiling of a really good number 2 starter in a big league rotation. It'll be really telling what he does after he comes back from TJS in terms of command. He does have the pure stuff and arm delivery to allow him to possess above average command in the future. We'll have to see what he does later.
I don't know why but I'm strangely optimistic about Buehler. Maybe it's the appeal of a high end Dodgers prospect. Maybe it's because his curveball is really pretty. Maybe it's because his prices are a little bit low right now due to his Tommy John surgery. Or maybe it's because his Twitter handle is @buehlersdayoff.
Whatever the reason, I'm eagerly awaiting what Buehler's first season as an active pro will look like. And also somewhat hoping that the Yankees can work out a trade for him (although TBH the Yankees have a bad track record with injury prone players, pitchers especially, so he'd probably be a disaster in pinstripes).
So to my Dodgers friends out there, keep an eye on Buehler when he comes back. By that time I'm sure that all eyes will be on the next new toy (i.e. whoever the Dodgers get in the draft in 2016). If you want to assemble a Buehler collection for whatever reason (personal interest, investment, whatever...) buy relatively low now (I got the refractor auto seen at the top for $10 and the Bowman's Best auto for $4 in May, 2016) and see what happens later.
As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).