The Los Angeles Dodgers entered the 2018 season with sky high expectations, as does their top Minor League affiliate, Triple-A Oklahoma City.
The Oklahoma City Dodgers once again feature a stacked roster with multiple top prospects and Major League-caliber players. They begin their season on Thursday against the Iowa Cubs, who finished last season first place in the division.
Among the intriguing prospects on the OKC roster is right-handed pitching prospect Walker Buehler. According to Triple-A Oklahoma Ciy communications director Alex Freedman, Buehler was selected to take the ball on Opening Day:
Walker Buehler gets the Opening Day start for @okc_dodgers. Rest of the rotation as follows:
Manny Banuelos (L)
— Alex Freedman (@azfreedman) April 3, 2018
The start will be Buehler’s first in a season opener since he was selected by the Dodgers in the first round of the 2015 Draft. He missed that entire season, however, after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Last season for Oklahoma City, Buehler posted a 4.63 ERA and 1.29 WHIP over 23.1 innings. He struck out 34 of the 100 batters he faced — good for a ridiculous 13.1 strikeouts per nine.
Buehler was part of the initial round of cuts in Spring Training, but is expected to make an impact for the Dodgers this season.
Indications are he’s projected to pitch 140-150 innings this season.