The Los Angeles Dodgers officially called up Walker Buehler prior to Wednesday’s series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Buehler is rated the organization’s top pitching prospect and was named the Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
The Dodgers’ first-round pick (No. 24 overall) from the 2015 Draft is in his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery. Buehler began the year with High-A Rancho Cucamonga, where he posted a 1.10 ERA and recorded 27 strikeouts in 16.1 innings pitched across five starts.
California League batters hit a meager .143/.226/.232, with only three extra-base hits (one double, two triples). In 11 starts with Double-A Tulsa, Buehler went 2-2 with a 3.49 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and .225 batting average against.
The 23-year-old earned Texas League Pitcher of the Week honors for a start in which he threw 5.1 scoreless innings, and was also among nine Drillers named to this season’s Texas League All-Star Game.
Buehler was promoted to Oklahoma City on July 16, where he made nine appearances (three starts). His first three games were all starts, with Buehler going 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA.
The inflated ERA was a byproduct of struggling to the tune of four earned runs allowed without recording an out in his Triple-A debut. Buehler proceeded to allow one earned run and zero runs in his next two starts, which were each five innings.
Overall with Oklahoma City, he went 1-1 with a 4.63 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 34 strikeouts against 11 walks in 23.1 innings pitched across 12 games. In nine games as a reliever, he recorded one save, allowed seven runs in 13.1 innings (4.73 ERA) and struck 19 batters compared to five walks.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the young right-hander will receive a fair share of opportunities to potentially pitch his way onto the playoff roster.
Fabio Castillo was designated for assignment in order to create room on the 40-man roster for Buehler.