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Walker Buehler Electric In Spring Training Debut

Dodgers

Last night’s ballgame saw a whirlwind of Spring Training firsts. First was the glorious comeback and ultimate walk-off by the Boys in Blue – punctuated by the three-run home run by Enrique Hernandez:

The second was the first Spring Training cuts by the Dodgers. Four players were optioned, while 16 more were reassigned to Minor League camp. Among these players are Brock Stewart, Keibert Ruiz, DJ Peters, and Edwin Rios. Lastly, we had the long-awaited debut of the Dodgers’ top prospect Walker Buehler. And man was he ever electric!

Hitting 96-98 consistently with his fastball and spotting the corners of the plate, Buehler rendered the Cubs helpless. And to boot his breaking pitches were razor sharp as well, catching a couple Cubs hitters looking. Despite the long wait for Buehler to debut, it was certainly worth it. Easily the universal top prospect for the Dodgers, Buehler’s debut was nothing short of electrifying. It had everyone raving about how sharp and powerful his stuff was:

How can you not just love how devastating Buehler is? What makes his fastball so special, as compared to other hard-throwing prospects, is the movement. There are plenty of pitchers who can reach the high 90s with straight smoke. However, it is another thing entirely to be able to run a high 90s fastball back over the inside/outside corner. Pitchers that have the ability to locate their pitches tend to have great success at the Major League level. Dave Roberts already commented on the fact that Buehler’s workload will increase in the coming season. Since the rotation seems set at the moment, it is likely Buehler still starts the season at AAA. As much as many fans would love to see Buehler in the rotation, there simply is no clear pathway for him there at the moment.

This doesn’t mean things can’t change during the season. Just look at Cody Bellinger last season. He had a strong Spring Training but still started at AAA because Gonzo was still entrenched at first-base. But with an injury and underperformance, Bellinger had a chance and ran with it, ending up the NL Rookie of the Year. Because Hyun-Jin Ryu is still the #5 it isn’t a stretch to imagine Buehler getting a shot early in the season. Either way, the Dodgers could very likely use him as a multi-inning relief weapon late in the year. 2018 has started with a bang for Buehler, let’s hope it is a year to remember!

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Written by Blake Coble

Born and raised in SoCal and bled Blue my whole life. Absolutely love baseball and absolutely love the Boys in Blue! I have a fascination with analyzing the statistics and trends that drive player performance, and I love following our minor league prospects as well! Active duty Air Force currently stationed in Central California! Follow me on Twitter @yarritsblake

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