While the Los Angeles Dodgers’ new front office has been in place for several months now, Monday was an interesting first glimpse how president of baseball operations Andrew Friemdan, general manager Farhan Zaidi and new scouting director Billy Gasparino view the future beyond the prospects already playing for the organization.
The Dodgers held four picks (Nos. 24, 35, 67 and 74) on the first day of the 2015 MLB Draft. With their first selection, they drafted right-handed starting pitcher pitcher Walker Buehler, a junior attending Vanderbilt University. Last year Los Angeles drafted right-handed pitcher Grant Holmes No. 22 overall.
Buehler was previously selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 14th round of the 2012 draft. He was ranked the No. 11 prospect according to MLB.com and helped guide Vanderbilt last season to their first baseball title.
Buehler pitched at Dodger Stadium this year when he started against Texas Christian University during the Dodger Stadium Baseball Classic on March 8. In the start, he allowed one run on three hits and five strikeouts in four innings. He finished the season 4-2 with a 2.97 ERA in 14 starts with 81 strikeouts to 25 walks in 78.2 innings.
Friedman recently indicated adding pitching depth was a focus heading into the draft. There’d been plenty of speculation the Dodgers would gamble on a pitcher coming off injury, but with plenty of upside.
One player who fits that description is left-hander Kolby Allard out of San Clemente High School, though he was taken 14th overall by the Atlanta Braves. Another was Brady Aiken, the No. 1 overall pick in 2014, who was selected 17th by the Cleveland Indians.
Although under different circumstances, the risk-reward strategy was deployed with the offseason signings of Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy. So far that’s played out to be a split decision with Anderson pitching well and McCarthy lost for the season to Tommy John surgery.
A full wrap up and analysis of the Dodgers’ selections this year will be provided once the draft is completed. The Dodgers are represented at the draft by former manager Tommy Lasorda and longtime scout Hank Jones. In other draft news, for the first time in MLB history, three shortstops were taken in the first three picks.