The Los Angeles Dodgers announced Friday the signings of three picks from the 2015 MLB Draft ahead of the 2 p.m. PT deadline. Headlining the trio is right-hander Walker Buehler out of Vanderbilt, whom the Dodgers drafted No. 24 overall.
It was reported Buehler signed for under slot value, which was set at just over $2 million with the explanation tied to there being concerns over an elbow issue. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, that equates to Buehler needing Tommy John surgery:
Walker buehler, dodgers No. W24pick, needs tommy john surgery, sources say.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 17, 2015
Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi declined comment Friday on Buehler’s health. Buehler missed some time last season as a junior with the Commodores due to soreness in his right elbow. He went on to post a 5-2 record with a 2.95 ERA, 92 strikeouts and 30 walks in 88.1 innings over 16 starts, and shined during the College World Series as Vanderbilt looked to repeat as champions.
Shortly after the draft concluded Dodgers director of amateur scouting Billy Gasparino identified Buehler and Kyle Funkhouser as prospects who potentially could make contributions in the Majors next season.
That aggressive timetable has since taken a significant hit with Funkhouser opting to return for a senior season at Louisville and now uncertainty surrounding Buehler’s health. Of their selections in the first 10 rounds, plus one supplemental pick and one compensatory pick, only Funkhouser went unsigned by the Dodgers.