The Los Angeles Dodgers held true to president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman’s comments that pitching would be a focus in the 2015 MLB Draft by selecting a hurler with three of the club’s four picks on Monday. The trend continued Tuesday as the Dodgers drafted more pitchers in the subsequent rounds.
Their first selection was Walker Buehler, a junior right-hander out of Vanderbilt University taken 24th overall. Buehler watched the draft with several of his teammates after the defending champions punched their ticket for a return trip to Omaha for the College World Series. “It was a pretty cool moment for me,” Buehler said Monday evening on a conference call.
While the young righty pitched at Dodger Stadium during the Dodger Stadium Baseball Classic, he said he didn’t know much about the organization, but was glad to be joining it. That isn’t to suggest however that Buehler isn’t familiar with the Dodgers’ roster, one player in particular.
“My whole career I’ve looked up to Zack Greinke,” he said. “We’re similar pitchers.” MLB Network’s telecast of the draft showed Greinke in the Dodgers’ war room and the pitcher was said to have given his stamp of approval on Buehler and the club’s other selections.
It’s certainly an interesting dynamic when considering Greinke can opt out after the 2015 season. And assuming he continues down the current path, he will exercise the right to become a free agent and sign one more lucrative deal in his career. As for potentially joining a rotation that will include Clayton Kershaw, Buehler is honored and humbled by the thought.
“That’s something that not many people get to think about in their life,” he said. “It’s obviously very humbling and it’s exciting thinking about, but when I get a little bit down the road.” He added his current focus is on helping fellow starter Carson Fulmer and the Commodores repeat as College World Series champions.
Buehler said a goal is to improve the command of his fastball as being able to accurately locate is imperative to success. He’s also believes a role as a starter is in his future, and it’s what he prefers.
As for the Buehler last name and the connection to the late-1980s movie, “I do actually like that movie,” he said. “I’ve seen it a bunch of times. On the first day of school the teacher tries to reinvent that scene so that’s why it’s my Twitter handle.”