Buehler was the Dodgers’ first-round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, going 24th overall out of Vanderbilt. Entering last season, he had only pitched five official professional innings after undergoing Tommy John surgery, though 2017 was a different story. After starting the year in High A, Buehler rocketed through the system and made his big league debut in September. He could help plenty of big league teams right now, but the Dodgers will send their best pitching prospect to Triple-A to begin 2018.
His sizzling fastball ranges from 92-to-99 mph as a starter, sitting 94 mph later in games and with the ability to reach back for 95’s and 96’s regularly. There’s more two-seam run in the lower 90s, and it comes in much flatter at the top of its velo range. Aside from his stature and some noise in his delivery, the only real knock on Buehler is his fastball command. He will spray the zone at times, and while he has the power fastball to go upstairs, he still will make mistakes within the zone with some regularity. A power curveball (80-to-83 mph) and slider (87-to-88 mph) both get swings and misses, with the slider getting more use against right-handed bats. He shows a firm high-80s changeup more frequently to lefties, flashing above-average armside dive at best.
If Buehler proves durable in a starting role and his fastball command can even get to average, the ceiling is that of a front-three rotation piece. His stuff is good enough that the fallback is still an impact bullpen arm with the chance to close games, as some scouts feel he could do in the big leagues right now. Buehler has excellent competitiveness, makeup, and talent—it all adds up to one of the game’s best pitching prospects.