The Dodgers will recall right-hander Walker Buehler from Triple-A Oklahoma City and start him against the Marlins on Monday, according to a team announcement. It’ll be the first major league start for the 23-year-old Buehler, one of the most highly regarded pitching prospects in baseball.
Buehler, who has quickly ascended the ranks since the Dodgers chose him 24th overall in the 2015 draft, already comes with some big league experience. He made eight appearances out of the Dodgers’ bullpen toward the end of the regular season last year. It was a rough stint for Buehler, who allowed eight earned runs on 11 hits and eight walks in 9 1/3 innings.
While Buehler clearly struggled in Los Angeles in 2017, there were some positive signs, namely a high-90s heater that helped him rack up 12 strikeouts. He has consistently shown off that strikeout prowess in the minors, including early this season at Triple-A. Thus far, Buehler has fanned 16 (against four walks) and logged a 2.08 ERA over 13 innings. Buehler has only hit the five-inning and 80-pitch marks once in three starts in 2018, though, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register notes.
The Dodgers are accustomed to receiving short outings from the oft-injured Rich Hill, whose place Buehler will take for the time being after the veteran went on the disabled list with a finger issue earlier this week. The rest of the Dodgers’ rotation – Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Kenta Maeda – looks set at the moment, so this could be a short stay in the majors for Buehler. But he’s clearly the Dodgers’ highest-upside depth starter, ranking as their top prospect at MLB.com and the outlet’s 12th-best farmhand overall, and could emerge as a significant factor soon enough.