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Walker Buehler

From BR Bullpen

Walker Anthony Buehler

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Walker Buehler was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 14th round of the 2012 amateur draft but did not sign, opting to attend Vanderbilt University instead. As a sophomore there, he went 12-2 with a 2.64 ERA and 111 strikeouts. He was considered one of the top prospects in the 2015 amateur draft but fell to #24 overall, taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers, due to health converns. He was the third Vanderbilt player taken, after Dansby Swanson had gone first overall, and fellow P Carson Fulmer was taken with the #8 pick. He and Swanson were the only two first-rounders to wait until the official signing deadline of July 17th to ink a major league contract. In Buehler's case, the fact that he would require Tommy John surgery made the negotiations more complicated, the two sides finally agreeing on a $1.78 million signing bonus.

In spite of the time missed due to the surgery, Buehler made it to the big leagues relatively quickly. He pitched only three times in 2016, for a total of 5 innings, but got on an accelerated on-ramp to the bigs in 2017. He pitched 28 times, including 19 starts, for a total of 88 2/3 innings. This included 5 starts with no decisions with the Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. He then went 2-2, 3.49 for the AA Tulsa Drillers and 1-1, 4.63 with the AAA Oklahoma City Dodgers. On September 7th, he made his major league debut by pitching 2 innings of scoreless relief in a 9-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies. His first appearance came at a difficult time for the team, as that game marked their 12th loss in 13 games after a blazing hot start to the season. In his next appearance on September 10h, though, he caught whatever infection had been ailing his teammates for two weeks, as he served up a grand slam to Mark Reynolds of the Rockies in the 8th, turning what was a close 2-0 game into an 8-1 laugher that further deepened the Dodgers' losing woes. Overall, he went 1-0, 7.71 in 8 appearances, all in relief and was not added to the postseason roster.

Buehler started the 2018 season in the minors, then was called up to make his first major league start on April 23rd, after Rich Hill had been placed on the disabled list. Facing the Miami Marlins, he was solid, allowing no runs in five innings before turning the ball over to the bullpen. He left with a 1-0 lead, but Miami tied it up in the 8th, before Los Angeles scored the winning run in the bottom of the frame, leaving Buehler with a no-decision. The Dodgers then optioned him to Class A Rancho Cucamonga, just so that they could back-fill his spot on roster while keeping him nearby if needed to start again in the coming days (the Dodgers' AAA affiliate in Oklahoma City was travelling to Round Rock, TX and New Orleans, LA during the period, while the AA farm team, the Tulsa Drillers, was also based quite a distance from L.A.) It turned out to be a smart move as Buehler was needed to start the first game of a doubleheader against the San Francisco Giants on April 28th. This time, run support was not an issue as he recorded a 15-6 win, his first as a starter in the majors. He was added to the roster under the 26th man rule and then was immediately sent back to Rancho Cucamonga, the plan still being to keep him close by for the next emergency. His next start came on May 4th and it was a historic one, as he tossed six hitless innings and was followed on the mound by Tony Cingrani, Yimi Garcia and Adam Liberatore who pitched a hitless inning each to combine on a 4-0 no-hitter against the San Diego Padres. It was the first contest of a three-game series played at Estadio de béisbol Monterrey in Monterrey, Nuevo León and the first no-hitter ever thrown outside the United States or Canada.

Buehler's fastball has been timed at 100 mph, explaining his meteoric rise to the big leagues as soon as his arm was healthy.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Ken Gurnick: "Buehler leads LA's combined no-no in Mexico: Feat is 12th combined no-hitter in Major League history, first by Dodgers", mlb.com, May 5, 2018. [1]

Related Sites[edit]