Walker, Not a Texas Ranger

Not Ferris Bueller, either…I am not sure how much you may know about Walker Buhler.  Most fans know that he was a pitcher at Vanderbilt University.  As a Freshman he was 4-3 with a 3.14 ERA.  As a sophomore he was 12-2 with a 2.64 ERA as Vanderbilt won a College World Series.  He was drafted by the Dodgers as the 24th pick in Andrew Friedman’s first Dodger Draft and then promptly underwent Tommy John Surgery.  What a crazy move.  Yeah, crazy like a fox.  Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi said this:
“We still think he is one of the top pitching talents in the draft.  We have the luxury of being able to play the long game. Even if it puts him a year behind, we think when he comes back he’s going to justify where we selected him.”
How highly was he regarded when they selected him?  MLB ranked him as the 11th best prospect in the draft. Some said he was Top 10 talent. Here was his College Scouting Report:
“One of three potential first-round picks from Vanderbilt, Buehler had an exceptional summer, sharing playoff MVP honors in the Cape Cod League and pitching well with the U.S. collegiate national team after helping the Commodores win the College World Series. Those wanting to see that carry over to this spring had to wait, as Buehler was slowed early with elbow soreness, but was getting back to full strength as his junior season unfolded. Buehler has a deep repertoire featuring four potential solid-or-better big league pitches and the ability to throw all of them for strikes. His best offering is his 90-96 mph fastball, and while he sometimes gets caught in between his curveball and slider, both can be weapons. His changeup similarly varies from inconsistent to effective. Buehler could have been a Draft pick in the top two rounds out of a Kentucky high school in 2012 had he been signable away from Vanderbilt. The biggest knock on him is that he’s just 6-foot-1 and 160 pounds, but he had been durable prior to this spring. His athleticism and sound delivery should allow him to remain a starter.”
They then compared him to Roy Oswalt!When he came back from his TJ surgery at the end of 2016, he had more velocity in this debut than he did when he was in college.  He actually threw his fastball at 98 MPH and has also developed a cut fastball. He was mostly a fastball-curveball pitcher in college, but if he can develop that cutter and improve his changeup, he might very well be a #2 or #3 starter.Some say Buehler is slight, but he’s about the same size as Zack Greinke.  Here’s another scouting report on him:
“Buehler is another solid starting pitcher coming out of Vanderbilt University. The righty features above average offspeed stuff with a great fastball that induces a lot of ground balls. He throws a lot of strikes and has the ability to work quickly. Buehler has a smooth consistent delivery that generates plenty of velocity with his long arms. He knows how to use his slider effectively and gets a lot of swing and misses. His curveball has the potential to be his most effective pitch in his repertoire. Buehler has the smarts, command and makeup to be a very good big league pitcher.”
Many scouts think he was the most MLB-Ready pitcher taken in the 2015 draft.  So, what can we really expect?  I would think he starts the season at AA or AAA and then the rest is up to him.  We could see him in 2017… or not.  I think he could even pitch out of the pen to limit his innings.  One thing is for sure: This is no ordinary prospect.  He’s BIG TIME!He could be a key cog in the Dodger rotation for years to come.

P.S.  The New Dodger Dash Board is now up!  Enjoy…

Buehler Photo Credit:  Mark Humphrey / Associated Presshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KFVLWX7eEY

This article has 47 Comments

  1. A couple of things on Bueller: He’s probably about 24-25 years old, which makes his physical maturity at a better place than Urias. He probably pitched about 100+ innings when last in college, so there is some durability there already. It would be nice if he was close to being as good as Lincecum, another small guy. I’ll take even one Cy Young. Unless he lights up Glendale, he will probably go to Tulsa and work from there. If he is good, they may fast track him, but who gets knocked out of the rotation? My guess is that he will be “disabled” for some of the year with “lower body fatigue”, the same problem that Stripling had last year and which he denied. I going to try the Dashboard. Thanks.

  2. Not wanting to kidnap the topic but I just learned that Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in The Dominican Republic today. RIP Yordano!!!

  3. Not to make Buehler sound small – he is 6′ 2″ and 175.

    Greinke is 6′ 2″ and 200, but he’s 8 years older too.

  4. It just occurred to me that one of the reasons FAZ drafts guys like Buehler is because when you draft close to the bottom, you have to take some chances on guys like Buehler who are ranked TOP 10 but downgraded by injury. It’s a very smart way to steal a better player in the draft.

    1. I guess it is only as smart as what happens with all the players that followed in the draft that could have been taken instead.

  5. Here the players are:

    25. Baltimore Orioles: D.J. Stewart, OF, Florida State (not Currently Ranked)

    26. Los Angeles Angels: Taylor Ward, C, Fresno State (Currently the Angels #3 Prospect, but their Frams System is #27, so he might not be rated as high)

    27. Colorado Rockies (for losing Michael Cuddyer): Mike Nikorak, RHP, Stroudsburg HS, PA (#14 in the Rockies System)

    28. Atlanta Braves (for losing Ervin Santana): Mike Soroka, RHP, Bishop Carroll HS, AB (#7 in the Braves System)

    29. Toronto Blue Jays (for losing Melky Cabrera): Jon Harris, RHP, Missouri State (#6 in Blue Jays system)

    30. New York Yankees (for losing David Robertson): Kyle Holder, SS, San Diego (#25 in Yankees system)

    31. San Francisco Giants (for losing Pablo Sandoval): Chris Shaw, 1B, Boston College (#3 in Giants system which is ranked #20)

    32. Pittsburgh Pirates (for losing Russell Martin): Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Concordia HS, TX (#6 in Pirates system)

    33. Kansas City Royals (for losing James Shields): Nolan Watson, RHP, Lawrence North HS, IN (#11 in KC’s system – Indiana Boy – I’ve seen him – he’s good)

    34. Detroit Tigers (for losing Max Scherzer): Christin Stewart, OF, Tennessee (#3 in Tigers system)

    35. Los Angeles Dodgers (for losing Hanley Ramirez): Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Louisville (failed to sign and then got drafted lower = dumba$$)

    36. Baltimore Orioles (for losing Nelson Cruz): Ryan Mountcastle, SS, Hagerty HS, FL (#6 in Orioles system)

    37. Houston Astros (from Marlins): Daz Cameron, OF, Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy, GA (#6 in Astros system)

    38. Colorado Rockies: Tyler Nevin, 3B, Poway HS, CA (#17 in Rockies system)

    39. St. Louis Cardinals: Jake Woodford, RHP, H.B. Plant HS, FL (#13 in Cardinals system)

    40. Milwaukee Brewers: Nathan Kirby, LHP, Virginia (#22 in Brewers system)

    41. Atlanta Braves (from Padres): Austin Riley, 3B, Desoto Central HS, MS (#15 in BRaves system)

    42. Cleveland Indians: Triston McKenzie, RHP, Royal Palm Beach HS, FL (#5 in Indians system)

    MLB has Buehler #5 in the Dodgers system, which is a deep system.

    We shall know in a year or three.

  6. That 2015 College WS final had some very impressive pitching prospects. The ChiSox arguably drafted and signed the best pitcher in Carson Fulmer (Virginia). However the Dodgers drafted and signed three others including Walker Buehler, Philip Pfeifer (both from Vanderbilt), and WS MVP Josh Sborz (Virginia). Like Buehler, Sborz seems to be on a fast track. While Sborz is currently considered a starting pitcher, he was a top collegiate closer, and could potentially be that lock down setup they have been looking for. Maybe not 2017, but maybe by 2018. Unfortunately Pfeifer was dealt to the Braves (with Caleb Dirks, another good potential reliever) for Bud Norris (and Dian Toscano & Alec Grosser). With all of the SP they currently have, that will not happen again.

    With the number of options on the current roster, I do not see the Dodgers pushing Buehler (or Sborz) unless they play themselves onto the roster. If JDL remains, it is entirely possible that both JDL and Brock Stewart drop down to AAA and join Chase De Jong and Trevor Oaks as OKC starting pitchers. Wilmer Font and Carlos Frias will begin the season as #5 and #6. Sborz will start at Tulsa and Buehler will start at Rancho with an early trip to Tulsa. But the ML roster is going to have to change so that JDL and Stewart can move up and that Buehler can get promoted past AA this year. That is why I am a proponent of making a move with one of their top prospects to thin out the logjam, and let the cream of the prospects rise.

    So to answer Bum’s question from yesterday, yes I would trade JDL for Javy Baez. With Buehler/Stewart/De Jong/Oaks and then Alveraz/Abdullah/White/May ready to step up, Baez would be a good and necessary addition. Somebody has to go. They cannot keep them all. If that meant throwing Kike’ into the trade, so be it. But there are two chances of that happening, and slim just walked out the door. If not Baez, what I would actually like to see is a trade for Ian Happ. That does not help for 2017, but it may give the Dodgers the long term 2B they need. That would pit Friedman against Hoyer, both very good at valuing prospects.
    Toles/Pederson/Puig/Seager/Happ/Bellinger/Grandal joining the old man JT for 2018. I believe that gets LAD young and cost controlled and a solid contender.

    1. AC

      I just wanted to tell you, that I am glad that you and Watford, are better now.

      I still think of you, when I think of that USC, Norte Dame game, that Anthony Davis ran back that kick off, and USC came back and won that game.

      You must have loved the Rose Bowl, this year too.

      1. Thank you MJ. USC back in the Rose Bowl and winning was very special. I hope that bodes well for my overall favorite team LA DODGERS!!!

  7. I like Buehler. Having said that, I want to see him have a few good months at Double A before I pencil him into the 2019 rotation.

    I see Buehler, Urias, and Yadier Alvarez as starters, with JDL, Sheffield, Sborz, Oaks and de Jong relievers.

    I don’t know where Stewart and Abdullah will end up, if they make it.

    Mitchell White is intriguing. His 22 minor league innings were amazing. He might be a steal. Anybody know if scouts think he’ll make the big leagues?

    1. I am a bitter Packers fan, so I have to think YES. But it’s probably not a Super Bowl I am going to pay much attention to.

        1. No. I will keep McCarthy. Even though he did not want Aaron Rodgers when he was the OC for the 49ers, and pushed for Alex Smith.

    1. Rumors flying around here that they will try and lure Paul George away. With the new CBA, it will be harder… unless Paul just wants to go. I have thought about opening up LAlakerTalk.com…

  8. Might Barnes become a full time player? He could play second against righties and catcher against lefties. Kike’ could earn the second base job against lefties in Spring if he excels against them in Spring. I still think Taylor has the best chance to play second from the in-house candidates.

    Profar is now Arb eligible and is a free agent after 2019 without proving himself due to injuries and bringing him up too soon. Profar’s potential will result in Texas needing to ask too much for him to make a trade. The Cubs could have the same problem with Baez. He needs to play or he will get older and have fewer controllable years soon enough and his trade value will drop like Profar’s has.

    De Leon needs to show he can stay healthy and eat some innings. If he does do that his trade value will increase and if he doesn’t it will drop. If the Dodgers and Cubs make that trade one or both will benefit. Baez has received playing time from multiple positions and I think if Kyle Schwarber stays healthy, Baez will not get the playing time he needs.

    The Cubs could keep Baez and trade Schwarber to maybe get a better pitcher than De Leon. If they trade Baez and Schwarber proves to not be fully healthy they will need a LFer and / or utility player. I would think a De Leon and Kike’ offer for Baez would be good for the Dodgers. I don’t care about the Cubs but that trade does seem like it would give them a needed #5 starter.

    It would be nice to sneak Ethier into that trade for the purpose of thinning out the outfield. Not that Epstein would allow anybody to sneak anybody into a trade.

    1. I think Barnes could be the everyday 2B. I see him as a Matt Carpenter-Type player. Carpenter did not become a regular until age 27. Austin Barnes is now 27. I think he’s ready. They would have to get another catcher. Maybe Matt Wieters would take a one-year deal? Doubtful – probably too high. Get David Ross to come out of retirement…

  9. I can’t wait for spring training to sort out the competition on 4-5 starters. Urias would have to be the leader of the young guns, but I’m not convinced his pitching motion is going to keep him in one piece for long. Max on every throw, falling off are not ideal for longevity. He does have a body type that might be able to get away with it, but we shall see. If he lights up the spring, no one will care about longevity.

  10. What is the current situation on the Dodger TV contract. I’m with Cox down in the OC and am tired of streaming and quality quirks. I’m okay at paying a few extra $$ a months to see the real thing. Hope this is resolved. A sin we missed Vinny’s last year in the booth.

    1. Well, in November the US Justice Department filed a lawsuit in relation to that. Tom Hoffarth of the LA DAILY NEWS says it best:
      The U.S. Justice Department has stepped into the Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A. three-year distribution quagmire by filing a lawsuit Wednesday against DirecTV, and new parent company AT&T, calling it a “ringleader” for unlawfully “orchestrating information sharing agreements” with competing cable companies.

      The 57-page suit filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, alleges DirecTV exchanged “competitively sensitive information” with Cox Communications, Charter Communications and AT&T as negotiations were taking place after the Dodgers and Time Warner Cable launched the channel in February 2014.

      Since that time, AT&T, which controlled its U-verse TV service, has purchased DirecTV and has an industry-leading 25.3 million subscribers, but it has not budged on taking the channel.

      “Dodgers fans were denied a fair competitive process when DirecTV orchestrated a series of information exchanges with direct competitors that ultimately made consumers less likely to be able to watch their hometown team,” said Justice Department lawyer Jonathan Sallet.

      “Competition, not collusion, best serves consumers and that is especially true when, as with pay-television providers, consumers have only a handful of choices in the marketplace.”

      AT&T released a statement that was attributed to general counsel David McAfee that read: “We respect the DOJ’s important role in protecting consumers, but in this case, which occurred before AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV, we see the facts differently. The reason why no other major TV provider chose to carry this content was that no one wanted to force all of their customers to pay the inflated prices that Time Warner Cable was demanding for a channel devoted solely to L.A. Dodgers baseball. We make our carriage decisions independently, legally and only after thorough negotiations with the content owner. We look forward to presenting these facts in court.”

      Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten said in a statement: “The allegations against DirecTV in today’s complaint by the U.S. Justice Department are shocking but not surprising. We hope today’s action leads to all Dodger fans finally being able to view all Dodger games everywhere in the market.”

      Ed Desser, a longtime sports media executive based in Santa Monica, called the lawsuit “pretty extraordinary … just stunning. I can’t think of a situation like this in the 35 years that regional sports networks have been around. Every time we talk about the SportsNet L.A. situation, there has been the same conclusion: Nothing will change until something comes along to change the dynamics. Well, if there was ever something that could do it, it’s this.”

      The channel, folded into the Dodgers’ ownership group and run by American Media Productions LLC, is now known as Spectrum SportsNet L.A. Charter Communications bought Time Warner Cable in May 2016 but had added the channel to Charter subscribers after the merger deal was announced in June 2015. The channel has about 150 Dodgers games during spring training and the regular season as well as 24/7 Dodgers programming.

      At the launch, nearly 70 percent of Southern California viewers were unable to access the channel.

      DirecTV, the satellite dish service headquartered in El Segundo, was the most vocal opponent of the reported $4.90 per subscriber per month fees that TWC had been asking. DirecTV was seen as the important linchpin in getting full distribution accomplished, but as long as it did not add SportsNet L.A., also based in El Segundo, then other competing cable companies were not compelled to add it either.

      Amid the dragged out negotiations, DirecTV was purchased by AT&T for $48.5 billion in 2014, a deal approved by the government in July 2015. More than 80 percent of AT&T’s current video subscribers are DirecTV customers.

      While some Southern California subscribers of DirecTV dropped their service and were living in an area where they could pick up the Time Warner Cable/Spectrum service just for the Dodgers’ channel, it was not enough of a financial hit to spark new owner AT&T to continue negotiations.

      During that time, TWC has reportedly offered DirecTV a six-year deal, reducing the channel’s subscriber cost by 30 percent (to about $3.50 a month) for the first year, and offering to charge the next five years equal to what DirecTV had been asking its subscribers for its owned-and-operated Roots Sports Northwest (at about $3.85). AT&T did not take that offer.

      This Justice Department action, however, could force AT&T to change its tune. In the latest round of media mergers, AT&T has put in an $85.4 billion bid to purchase Time Warner Inc., a company separate from Time Warner Cable that involves cable channels such as TBS and TNT. The government is reviewing antitrust rules regarding that AT&T/Time Warner Inc. merger.

      As the Dodgers won the last three National League West Division titles, extending their streak to four seasons in a row, many Southern California fans were effectively blocked from seeing the final seasons of Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully.

      In the lawsuit under the “nature of the action” section, the wording reads: “A significant number of Dodgers fans have had no opportunity in recent years to watch their team play on television because overlapping and competitive pay television providers did not telecast Dodgers games. Those consumers were deprived of a fair competitive process when DirecTV unlawfully exchanged strategic information with three competitors during their parallel negotiations concerning carrying Dodgers games.

      “This complaint focuses on DirecTV, the ringleader of information sharing agreements with three different rivals that corrupted the Dodgers Channel carriage negotiations and the competitive process that the Sherman Act protects.”

      In making its case, the lawsuit also cites issues in the TWC launch of the Lakers-dominant TWC SportsNet regional network and how DirecTV initially declined to carry it because of a high asking price. DirecTV finally added it three days before the Lakers 2012-13 season started after competitor Charter signed on.

      “DirecTV rolled the dice during the Laker Channel negotiations but lost because TWC was able to pursue a divide-and-conquer strategy by offering DirecTV’s smaller competitors financial incentives to sign a deal early in the negotiation process.”

      Congressman Tony Cardenas, D-Panorama City, who is involved in trying to spur the Federal Communications Commission into getting involved in the matter, said in a statement that the DOJ’s allegations this time “are troubling.”

      “For the good of our Los Angeles baseball tradition, we must find a way to make sure these games are available for the fans who want to watch them at home,” he said.
      That’s the whole story. I have no clue what effect the new President and Attorney General will have on the suit.

      1. I’d love to see cable and satellite completely blown up and for consumers to be able to pick a la carte. Not just for sports, but everything.

  11. It’s nice to see the site back up. Good job Mark. A couple of comments questions from he previous thread.
    Peterson – Will he progress or not? Will he be a Jim Edmonds type or a lesser Adam Dunn (or worse Rob Deer)? I wish he would cut down his swing with 2 strikes. I also think he needs to swing at some first pitches as if memory serves in the post season pitchers would get ahead of him and then get him to chase. How many doubles could he get if he would take pitches the other way?
    Toles – To me he seems similar to Juan Pierre and alot of people couldn’t get rid of him fast enough. What’s the difference? More Power?
    Seager – What did he learn from the end of year struggles? Does he need to adjust or was it mostly fatigue? I can see him struggling a little bit early but then he’ll take off. The key to him reaching hos potential is improving against lefties.
    Starting Pitching – The surplus will work itself out. Maybe McCarthy is the setup man? Until Ryu is scheduled to make his second start I’m not expecting anything from him.
    Bullpen – I want to see what Fields can do.
    Braun – Still don’t want him (attitude & contract) but I get the reasoning.
    Dozier – I like that FAZ is reluctant to pay more that what they think he is worth but at some point we’ll have to pay a little more than we would like to get an important piece. Is this one of those times?

    1. Pierre had a 13 year career and made millions in salary.
      Toles is trying to get his MLB career started and can throw the ball a little better than Pierre and has a little more power. Okay, I might have understated how much stronger Toles arm and bat are in comparison to Pierre’s.
      I glad I have a calculator so I can figure out the math question.

  12. On my way to a Pacers – Knicks game and then this happens:


    LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers today acquired infielder Logan Forsythe from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for right-handed pitcher José De León.

    Forsythe, 30, has combined to slug 57 doubles, 37 homers and drive in 120 runs in 280 games with Tampa Bay over the past two seasons, including batting .264 with 52 RBI and setting career-best marks with 20 home runs, four triples and 76 runs scored as the Rays’ primary leadoff hitter in 127 games last year. In 2015, batting in the middle of the Rays’ lineup, Forsythe led Tampa Bay qualifiers in batting average (.281), on-base percentage (.359) and slugging percentage (.444), while posting a .299/.373/.599 slashline against left-handers. His slugging percentage against lefties (.599) ranked third in the American League in 2015, behind only Nelson Cruz (.673) and Josh Donaldson (.632).

    Forsythe has a .255 career batting average with 55 homers and 203 RBI in 618 games in six big-league seasons with the Padres (2011-13) and Rays (2014-16) after being selected by San Diego in the first round (46th overall) of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Arkansas. The Tennessee native has primarily appeared at second base during the course of his career (.980 fielding percentage in 456 games), but has also seen work at third base (56 games), first base (27 games), shortstop (19 games) and outfield (16 games).

    De León, who was rated as the Dodgers’ No. 3 prospect by Baseball America, went 2-0 with a 6.35 ERA in four starts in his first big-league action in 2016. The 24-year-old native of Puerto Rico went 7-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 16 starts with Triple-A Oklahoma City last year and has posted a 23-13 career record with a 3.35 ERA in 67 games (64 starts) in four minor league seasons in the Los Angeles organization after being selected in the 24th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Southern University.

  13. As a Dodgerfan, I hope DeLeon doesn’t turn in to another pedro martinez, also a mistake for a two year rental.

  14. He used to play for Friedman, but is Forsythe really that good? He has more experience but his career numbers are similar to Kike’s. I wonder where he’ll hit in the lineup.

  15. The Dodgers get their 2B for a prospect. There was never any way that they would go into next season with playoff/championship aspirations with a Kike/Culberson/Taylor/Barnes combo at 2B.

    They got it done for just one prospect, albeit a good one. And they traded from “depth” since the team has loads of highly-ranked right handed pitching prospects.

    At least at this point it looks like a good deal.

  16. When I was reading about this guy and Dozier, at the begining of the off season, it said that most baseball people, thought that Logan, was a better baseball player, then Dozier.

    The front office did a good job, by only giving up JDL.

    I wondering about his contract length,

  17. Nice trade for Forsythe. He checks off a lot of boxes. Good second baseman. A lead off hitter and he hits lefties well. Losing a prospect always stings a little, but you have to give quality to get quality. I hope DeLeon has a successful career with the Rays. More importantly, I hope Forsythe helps the Dodgers get over the edge to make it to the WS.

    Forsythe also creates some flexibility to allow FAZ to make some other moves. He also gives them some time to see if Calhoun can learn to be a better defensive second baseman. If he can, then he slides in after 2 years. If not, you trade him to the AL.

  18. I am a strong advocate for the farm system and home grown players. I hate the thought of losing JDL, but LA needed a 2B and have a surplus of RHP. The Dodgers are in a position to win this year, and Logan Forsythe gives them a better chance this year vs JDL. Kazmir & McCarthy make it difficult to project where JDL would fit this year. If Kazmir & McCarthy both falter, then Stewart/Stripling/Wood would be his primary competition to fit in the rotation this year with Buehler & Alveraz upcoming. Alveraz is already projecting to be a better prospect by some national publications, and Buehler is getting huge upgrades as well. Buehler may be ready this year if needed. There is no guarantee that JDL would even crack the 25 this year.

    Calhoun may be able to hit, but will he be able to play 2B? If so then Forsythe will not block him. If not, Forsythe is more likely an extension candidate than Dozier. Lux and Estevez are not projected to be ML ready until 2020. So they need a 2B for 2017 & 2018 at least.

    I believe that JDL will be a great addition for the Rays. He probably projects to be the #5 behind Archer, Odorizzi, Cobb, and Snell, which bodes very well for the Rays. Tampa Bay still has Erasmo Ramirez just in case. With Brad Miller able to assume 2B, the Rays needed a controllable pitcher more than Forsythe. The Dodgers need a 2B more than a SP prospect. Both teams are better situated this year with this trade. LA was not going to get a solid 2B for Caleb Ferguson and Mitch Hansen. They needed to trade someone of value, and they traded from a surplus. I see this as being a good trade for both teams. How it ends up we will find out. But I welcome Logan Forsythe and hope that JDL destroys the Twins and wins a CY.

  19. Nice deal. 1st round pick. U of Arkansas. Drafted by Padres. Can he play in a big time market? Tampa /Oakland players have a tough time in the spotlight. Still, good move. I like that he leads off. How much better than Kendrick? Don’t know. What is his contract status?

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