Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Tag: Walker Buehler

Best of the 2010s:
The All-Decade Dodgers

Raymond Gorospe/MLB.com

We have nearly reached the end of the ’10s, and though selections of the Dodgers’ all-decade team should probably wait until after the 2019 World Series, these few days of relative calm before the storm of the postseason seemed like a good time to reveal them. Nothing is likely to affect these choices between now and then (although I’m fascinated by the idea that something could). 

Most challenging was having to deal with five legitimate candidates for the four openings at outfield/first base. Catcher was nearly a toss-up, and second base yielded its own surprise. 

Here we go … 

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Uneasy lies the head that wears a Dodger cap

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Hi ho, it’s February. Dodger pitchers and catchers and other eager beavers are scheduled to report to Camelback Ranch in eight days. The first full squad workout comes two weeks from Tuesday.

Vibe: unsettled.

Forecast: angsty.

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Who makes the do-or-die starts for the Dodgers?

On Sunday, Walker Buehler might making the highest-stakes regular-season start by a rookie in Dodger history. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

I’m writing about an event that likely won’t come to pass, an event that most Dodger fans hope doesn’t come to pass.

But as their three-game series at San Francisco begins tonight, the Dodgers could soon be facing as many as four consecutive do-or-die games to reach the National League Division Series.

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Which starting pitchers should move into the bullpen for the Dodgers?

Kenley Jansen’s absence puts more pressure on the rest of the Dodger pitching staff to step up.
(Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

All summer long, the big question for the Dodger pitching staff has been which relievers would serve as the bridge to Kenley Jansen.

But with the distressing news that Jansen will be sidelined at least into September with an irregular heartbeat, we now have to ponder not only the bridge, but the destination.

You can read all the options the Dodgers have available in my recent review of the Dodger pitching staff, and Dustin Nosler of Dodgers Digest has a post up today looking specifically at who might close in Jansen’s absence.

My focus today is on the fact that it’s obvious that the Dodgers, who will soon have seven starting pitchers available with the impending returns of Alex Wood and Hyun-Jin Ryu from the disabled list, will need to move at least one starting pitcher to the bullpen — two if they don’t go with a six-man rotation.

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Walker Buehler’s Day On
the Despicable Me 3 no-hitter

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Tonight was the annual FamFest outdoor movie at 10-year-old Youngest Master Weisman’s school. That meant I could not be in front of the television during tonight’s Dodger game. I could not be in front of the television. 

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Walker Buehler’s time arrives for the Dodgers

Walker Buehler has a 2.00 ERA with 11 strikeouts in his first 10 innings for the Dodgers this year. (Michael Urakami/MLB.com)

Seems like Walker Buehler can take Rancho Cucamonga hotels out of his favorites on Waze.

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In case you missed it: 29 games to go

Remaining schedule - September

By Jon Weisman

Two games in the National League West separate the Dodgers and Giants, who each have 29 games remaining in the regular season — six against each other — and nearly identical schedules.

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Farm Fresh: De Leon’s 13K carry OKC to playoffs

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By Jon Weisman

While Brock Stewart was having his career-best Major League game in Los Angeles, Jose De Leon was firing up some heroics of his own.

De Leon struck out 13 with no walks in 7 2/3 shutout innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City, which clinched the Pacific Coast League American Northern Division title in a 6-1 victory over Colorado Springs.

In 41 2/3 innings over his past six starts, De Leon has a 1.30 ERA with 46 strikeouts.

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Farm Fresh: August 23 minors highlights

Josh Sborz (Amanda Ray/MiLB.com)

Josh Sborz (Amanda Ray/MiLB.com)

By Bart Harvey

It’s been an excellent 24 hours for the Dodgers’ 2015 draft class …

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As Dodgers eye 2016 draft, 2015 selections progress

Vanderbilt's Walker Buehler was the Dodgers' No. 1 draft pick in 2015. (Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

Vanderbilt’s Walker Buehler was the Dodgers’ No. 1 draft pick in 2015. (Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

By Jon Weisman

With three picks before the second round of Thursday’s 2016 MLB draft, the Dodgers are sitting pretty.

And on top of that, their top pick from 2015, Walker Buehler — who had Tommy John surgery in August before appearing in a professional game — is on course to make this year’s haul even stronger.

“Walker Buehler’s going to be ready to throw next year — he’s almost like a pick this year,” Gasparino said. “We feel good about his recovery, his rehab and where he’s at in the process.”

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In case you missed it: Walker Buehler to have surgery

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By Jon Weisman

Some pregame news and notes for you …

  • Walker Buehler, the Dodgers’ No. 1 choice in the 2015 draft, will have Tommy John surgery performed Wednesday by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
  • Justin Turner will spend some time at Camelback Ranch while recovering from his leg infection, Don Mattingly told reporters today. Turner is still not expected to miss more than 15 days.
  • In their past 10 games in Philadelphia, the Dodgers have allowed 13 runs, according to the Dodgers’ public relations department.
  • Same source (with help from Stats, LLC): The Dodgers have an extra-base hit in 95 straight road games, tied for the second-longest streak all-time behind the 2005-07 St. Louis Cardinals (127 games).
  • Tonight’s starting pitcher, newly acquired Alex Wood, has a bit of a decline in strikeouts this year. Daniel Brim of Dodgers Digest did a deep dive and may have connected the dots with some shifts in Wood’s unorthodox delivery.
  • Pedro Moura of the Register has more on Wood, including this:

    Over the weekend, Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt watched Wood’s first bullpen session in awe.

    “Some of his changeups were almost like splits that went almost straight down,” Honeycutt said. “I said to him, ‘Geez, that’s filthy.’”

    “He goes, ‘Yeah.’”

  • New Dodger reliever Jim Johnson, now on his fifth team in the past two seasons, spoke to Arash Markazi of ESPN.com about the travails of changing teams.
  • Despite the presence of Adrian Beltre and, of late, Justin Turner, no MLB team has gone longer without an All-Star third baseman than the Dodgers, writes Miles Wray of the Hardball Times. Pedro Guerrero was the last, in 1983.
  • Newly acquired injured pitcher Bronson Arroyo could play an indirect role in the Dodger postseason, even if he never throws a pitch, as Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. explains.
  • Major League Baseball Advanced Media has make a major deal to run the NHL’s TV and online video operations, as Todd Spangler of Variety notes. How BAM, as it’s known, became such a behemoth is explored by Ben Popper at the Verge.
  • Adrian Gonzalez’s three-homer, 13-base game against the Padres in April is the top offensive performance by a player this year, according to Cliff Corcoran of SI.com.
  • Kiké Hernandez and Yasiel Puig took up this year’s Ice Bucket Challenge on behalf of the Dodgers this year. Don’t worry — they did it over the Dodger Stadium grass, so the water was put to use.
  • Funny stuff from Jason Bateman on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” the other night (via Blue Heaven) — watch below.

Farhan Zaidi discusses Dodger draft signings

Dodgers at Nationals, 4:05 p.m.
Joc Pederson, CF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Yasiel Puig, RF
Andre Ethier, LF
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Mike Bolsinger, P

By Jon Weisman

Hours before they started the second half of their season in Washington, the Dodgers met the deadline for singing players from the 2015 amateur draft by locking up first-round draft choice Walker Buehler, sixth-rounder Edwin Rios and 30th-rounder Logan Crouse.

Buehler’s signing came amid some media reports today that he had an elbow issue.

“We’re not going to comment on anything medically related to Walker,” Dodger general manager Farhan Zaidi said. “We’re obviously excited to have him on board. He finished the college season strong, obviously pitched in the College World Series.”

Rios, who had a .421 on-base percentage and .591 slugging percentage with 18 home runs in 61 games for Florida International in his junior season this year, was the only corner infielder in the first 10 rounds of Dodger draft selections. Negotiations went down to the wire.

“We went really pitching heavy,” Zaidi said, “so being able to get a college bat with some polish and hopefully the ability to hit in the middle of the lineup is exciting. It took a little bit of time to hammer out the deal, so the lost development time is unfortunate, but we’re obviously excited to have him now. We’ll start him out in Arizona and hopefully move out to one of the other clubs shortly thereafter.”

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Dodger draftees shine at College World Series

Giants at Dodgers, 5:08 p.m.
Yasiel Puig, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Alex Guerrero, LF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Brett Anderson, P

By Jon Weisman

The College World Series has been a showcase for 2015 Dodger draftees Walker Buehler, Philip Pfeifer and Josh Sborz.

Sborz, a Virginia right-hander who has alternated between starting and relief in his three years there, pitched four shutout innings to close out a 5-4 victory Saturday over Florida, lifting the Cavaliers into the CWS championship round. Sborz has a streak of 23 consecutive scoreless innings, including nine in the CWS.

Josh Sborz’s nine shutout innings in College World Series:

  • June 13: three innings, one hit, one walk, five strikeouts, 40 pitches
  • June 15: two innings, no hits, no walks, no strikeouts, 20 pitches
  • June 20: four innings: three hits, one walk, two strikeouts, 54 pitches
  • Total: nine innings, four hits, two walks, seven strikeouts, 114 pitches

In the best-of-three CWS championship series beginning Monday, Virgina will play Vanderbilt, which features Buehler and Pfeifer in its starting rotation. Buehler allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings (89 pitches) Friday against Texas Christian, striking out eight, in pitching the Commodores to the final round.

That came three days after Pfeifer’s seven shutout innings (111 pitches) with seven strikeouts in a 1-0 Vandy victory over TCU. Pfeifer is scheduled to start Tuesday’s Game 2 on six days’ rest, with Buehler possibly taking Game 3 on four days’ rest if necessary Wednesday.

Walker Buehler has heard all your ‘Ferris’ jokes

Walker Buehler at the 2014 College World Series (Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

Walker Buehler at the 2014 College World Series (Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

By Jon Weisman

Given that he wasn’t drafted by the Texas Rangers, the first thing Walker Buehler’s name brings to mind is the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Buelher has steered into that skid, taking the Twitter handle @buehlersdayoff.

“I do actually like the movie,” Buehler said. “I’ve seen it a bunch of times, probably 10 times. It’s one of those things, where you get to your first day of school, every teacher tries to reinvent the wheel, do the whole skit, so at some point I just went with it.”

Selected with the 24th overall pick of the MLB draft by the Dodgers, Buehler hopes someday to be taking four days off out of every five, as a member of the Los Angeles starting rotation.

Buehler already has a taste by pitching at the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic in March.

“It was awesome, man,” he said. “I guess it was the first time I ever pitched in a big-league park. It was a cool environment, cool area.”

Buelhler said that of all Dodger pitchers, the one he sees as a role model is Zack Greinke, because of a “similar body type” and, Buehler dares to dream, a similar type of pitching.

“We’re really excited to be able to take Walker at 24,” said Dodger director of amateur scouting Billy Gasparino. “He has a lean, athletic build, a power three-plus pitch mix and is a quality young man.”

All in all, Buehler was still digesting his newfound status as a potential Dodger.

“Pretty cool day,” Buehler said about two hours after his selection, adding that he didn’t have an inkling in advance that the Dodgers would draft him. “You have an idea of where you think you want to go, but I don’t think you ever know anything.”

Vanderbilt RHP Walker Buehler taken in first round by Dodgers

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By Jon Weisman

With their first-round selection, the 24th overall pick in the 2015 MLB draft, the Dodgers have selected 6-foot-2 Vanderbilt right-hander Walker Buehler.

Here’s a scouting report on Buehler from MLB.com:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 55 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 55 | Overall: 55

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. He missed the first two weeks of the 2015 season with elbow soreness but bounced back after that.

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-2 and 170 pounds, but he had been durable prior to this spring. His athleticism and sound delivery should allow him to remain a starter.

And here’s Baseball America’s take:

Buehler had a busy summer last year. After helping Vanderbilt win its first-ever national championship, he pitched briefly for Team USA and was then named co-MVP of the playoffs in the Cape Cod League, as he helped Yarmouth-Dennis to the championship. His start to his junior season at Vanderbilt was delayed by elbow soreness, but he’s pitched well since rejoining the Commodores rotation. At his best, Buehler has four above-average offerings. He throws his fastball in the low to mid 90s, though it doesn’t have a ton of life. That, in addition to his clean arm action, allows him to pound the strike zone, but also makes it a bit easier for hitters to square the pitch up if he misses in the zone. His curveball and slider both show promise and he has a good feel for spinning the baseball, but they run together at times. He gets good fading action on his changeup. Though at a listed 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, Buehler is taller than teammate Carson Fulmer, he isn’t very physical and also lacks ideal size for a righthander. Scouts have more confidence that Buehler will be able to remain in the rotation, however, thanks to his deep arsenal, athleticism and more polished delivery.

Buehler has already pitched at Dodger Stadium. He started in the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic against Texas Christian on March 8, allowing one run on three hits with five strikeouts over four innings.

Buehler’s Twitter handle is, wonderfully, @buehlersdayoff. Fellow Vanderbilt pitcher David Price was taken out of high school by the Dodgers in the 2004 draft, but chose to go to college.

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