Los Angeles Dodgers right-handed pitching prospect Walker Buehler is in his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery. The operation was completed shortly after he was selected with the No. 24 overall pick in the 2015 Draft.
Buehler began the year with High-A Rancho Cucamonga, where he yielded a 1.10 ERA and 0.80 WHIP, while striking out 27 and walking five in 16.1 innings across five starts. The impressive showing with the Quakes earned Buehler a promotion to Double-A Tulsa in May.
His debut with the Drillers showed flashes of promise and room for improvement. Buehler set a career high with nine strikeouts in a second start, and has since produced a 10-strikeout performance.
Now the 22-year-old is joining Triple-A Oklahoma City and he’ll start Thursday, according to the affiliate’s media relations director, Alex Freedman:
Walker Buehler will join the @okc_dodgers today. First start will be Thursday. Between A+/AA has a 2.38 ERA, .205 BAA, 1.04 WHIP, 12.5 K/9.
— Alex Freedman (@azfreedman) July 16, 2017
Buehler went 2-2 with a 3.49 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 15 walks and 64 strikeouts in 49 innings of work over 11 starts for the Drillers. Buehler’s longest outing was 5.1 innings, and he went five innings in four other starts.
The aggressive promotion further signals the Dodgers are considering using the first-round pick out of the bullpen once active rosters expand in September. Buehler has twice pitched in relief during his professional career, with both appearances coming last season.
Buehler was recently ranked the 17th-best prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America.