Los Angeles Dodgers right-handed pitcher Walker Buehler was rated the organization’s top 2018 prospect by Baseball America. It’s his first such honor, with the 23-year-old supplanting Cody Bellinger atop the list.
Buehler is joined in the publication’s ranking of the Dodgers’ top 10 prospects, in order, by outfielder Alex Verdugo (No. 2), catcher Keibert Ruiz, pitcher Mitchell White, pitcher Yadier Alvarez, outfielder Yusniel Diaz, outfielder Jeren Kendall, outfielder D.J. Peters, catcher Will Smith and pitcher Dennis Santana.
Verdugo rises as he was rated the Dodgers’ No. 4 prospect by Baseball America last year, and so too does Diaz, who was previously rated seventh. Meanwhile, Alvarez dropped three spots from his place in the publication’s 2017 rankings.
In addition to Bellinger graduating from prospect status this past season, Austin Barnes did as well. Jose De Leon (traded), Willie Calhoun (traded), Andrew Toles, Gavin Lux and Brock Stewart fell off from last season’s Dodgers’ top-10 rankings.
Of the 10 prospects included on the 2018 list, Buehler and Verdugo are the only to have made their respective MLB debut. There was early consideration given to potentially including either on the postseason roster, but production did not warrant such an opportunity.
Next season will be Buehler’s second full year since undergoing Tommy John surgery. He had the operation shortly after being selected by the Dodgers No. 24 overall in the 2015 Draft.
Buehler and Verdugo figure to again spend time with the Dodgers, with a few other prospects on the top-10 list possibly joining the club as late-season call-ups.