The Los Angeles Dodgers routinely boast one of the Majors’ best farm systems and have seen the likes of Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson and Corey Seager emerge into productive players in recent seasons.
The club has similar high hopes for former first-round draft pick Walker Buehler, who’s expected to take the next leap in 2018. He enters the upcoming season as the consensus top prospect in the Dodgers organization and looks to build off Major League debut last September.
Buehler shared his takeaway from his brief time in Los Angeles last season, explaining a difference learned between being in the Majors and Minors, via Spectrum SportsNet LA:
“Get a little taste of it and kind of know what to expect. The flow of it is different than anywhere else. Pregame routines are extended, and you’re not sitting in the clubhouse just talking like you do everywhere else. You at least know the process a little bit better.”
After an impressive season in the Minors across three different affiliations, Buehler received his call to the Majors last September. He proceeded to post a 7.71 ERA and 2.04 WHIP over 9.2 innings, but additionally struck out 11.6 batters per nine behind a dominating fastball and above-average curveball.
Heading into the 2018 season, Buehler is expected to transition back into a starting role. Manager Dave Roberts suggested the 23-year-old may even contend for a spot in the rotation during Spring Training.
Given his Tommy John surgery in 2015, the Dodgers will likely keep Buehler on an innings limit, as they did last season. That could open up the possibility of the right-hander beginning the year with Triple-A Oklahoma, or even seeing some time in the bullpen early on.