This should be old hat by now. If a prospect is called up, I’m going to profile him. It’s what I do. When my two worlds collide into one, everything suddenly stops, and I become one with the ball. Feeling each twist and turn, as I tumble out of Walker Buehler’s hand and into Yasmani Grandal’s mitt. That was supposed to be more poetic than homo-erotic thriller, but I’m not sure I achieved that. Oh well, any-fracking-way, Dodgers super-prospect, former first round pick, and Vanderbilt ace made the start on Monday… Wait for it, before being sent back down on Tuesday. It’s a rough life for these prospects. One minute you’re sipping champagne from between Charlotte McKinney’s dirty pillows, and the next you’re back in Omaha eating at Denny’s. (They actually sent Buehler down to Hi-A Rancho, with the intent of adding an arm to the pen for the remainder of the week, before recalling him for Saturday’s double-header against the Giants.) My guess is Buehler will be back in Hollyweird, canoodling with Charlotte once again. Here’s what I saw on Monday.

Scouting Report: I ranked Buehler as the top prospect in the Dodgers system back at the beginning of February, and here’s what I had to say about the former Vanderbilt ace, “Don’t read too much into the struggles in his late season callup, Buehler has the ability to pair three above average or better offerings with above average control. The arsenal is led by his plus fastball that touches 99 with sink. He has the ability to locate it anywhere in the zone, and is a deadly combo with his mid-80’s hook. His slider flashes plus at times, but the changeup is fringe at best. He’ll have a nice combination of groundballs and swinging strikes, making him a brand of pitcher I tend to buy. The big question with Buehler is health, putting a future in the rotation in question. He has the stuff to be an elite reliever, but his most value in dynasty leagues is in the rotation. The upside is top of the rotation starter if he can stay healthy” I got some push back on the reliever line, and for now Buehler is thankfully in the rotation and proceeding as a starter, but don’t be shocked if he spends some time in the pen this season to limit his innings.

 

Walker Buhler vs. The Miami Marlins, April 23rd, 2018 @ Dodger Stadium

First Inning: First thing is first, Alanna Rizzo, I love you. Oh yeah, Walker Buehler! With two 98 MPH fastballs to start the game Buehler gets a groundout from Miguel Rojas. He then opens up J.T. Realmuto with two more 98 MPH fastballs, before dropping in a slider, he comes back at 99, which Realmuto hits foul. after a lengthy, and uncalled for review, Buehler goes back to the slide piece, which Realmuto promptly hits to leftfield for a single. He starts Starlin Castro off fastball, fastball, curveball, slider, before Castro sprays the slider between third base and the shortstop. With two on Buehler goes fastball, fastball (100), curve, fastball, getting him looking on 99 MPH heat on the outer quadrant. Starts off Cameron Maybin with a curveball first pitch strike, fastball, fastball, changeup, fastball, to walk Maybin, and load the bases. Here comes JB Schuck, Buehler starts him out fastball on the outside, fastball on the inside to get up 0-2, before missing on fastball high and tight, that Grandal bobbles. The next pitch is a nasty curveball that bounces. Buehler comes back at 99 on the outside to get a swinging strike three.

Strike Three Fastball at 99

Summary: An up and down inning for Buehler as he was getting easy velo on the fastball, but it was hittable, and his slider was as well. The curveballs he threw were nice, but lacked the level of control needed to be an impactful out pitch. The changeup looked fringe at best.

Stats: 25 pitches, 16 strikes, 1 swinging strike, 2 hits, 1 walk, 0 runs, 2 Ks

Second Inning: First batter is fellow rookie Lewis Brinson, Buehler starts off slider, fastball, slider to get a three pitch strikeout. Nice placement on the slider. Yadiel Rivera sees fastball inside, fastball outside, fastball up high, that gets a check-swing strike three. Next batter is the pitcher Jarlin Garcia, Buehler starts him off with three straight fastballs getting up 1-2, before missing with the fourth, fifth, and sixth heaters of the at bat, to walk Garcia. Next up is the leadoff hitter Miguel Rojas, Buehler works slider, slider, to go down 2-0 before firing a fastball in the zone at 98, followed by a fastball for a strike, and a fastball for a ball to run the count full, the payoff pitch is a fastball Rojas fouls off his right foot, another 97 MPH fastball is beat into the ground foul, before the 8th pitch of the at bat is hit on the ground up the middle. Hernandez makes a great play on the ball firing to first for the final out of the inning.

Strike three slider

Summary: Solid inning from Buehler, lost a tick or two on the fastball, but I’m impressed by how well he spots it to both sides of the plate. He got squeezed on a couple of fastballs on the black. His slider flashes plus, but his command of the breaking ball is off. His lack of efficiency with his pitches has driven his pitch count up to 46 through two innings. An issue I foresaw.

Stats: 20 pitches, 12 strikes, 2 swinging strikes, 0 hits, 1 walk, 0 runs, 2 Ks

Third Inning: The catcher J.T. Realmuto is up first, the lefty starts off with four consecutive fastballs to get up 0-2, before a changeup is grounded to short for the first out of the frame. Starts Starlin Castro out with curveball, fastball to get up 0-2, before a 97 MPH fastball is driven up the middle, and again Kiki makes an outstanding play behind second sliding to recover, gets up, and spins around to make the play at first. Brian Anderson gets two consecutive curveballs, before hitting the third hook weakly to third base for the final out.

Kiki’s amazing glovework

Summary: Quick 9 pitch inning for Buehler as he gets a great defensive play, and a trio of groundballs. Really nice efficient inning for Buehler. The curveballs to Anderson all had nice placement.

Stats: 9 pitches, 8 strikes, 0 swinging strikes, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 Bb, 0 K

Fourth Inning: Buehler starts off the inning with three consecutive fastballs off the plate to fall behind 3-0. The fourth fastball drops in for strike one, before Maybin fouls off the fifth pitch and fastball for strike 2, the payoff pitch a 3-2 fastball is knocked up the middle for a base hit. The next at bat starts with a first pitch curveball for a strike, followed by a fastball in the dirt, a changeup is then hit for a lazy flyball out to Matt Kemp in left. Starts off Lewis Brinson with a curveball outside, but as Maybin takes off, Grandal guns him down for the second out. The next three pitches to Brinson are a slider, fastball, fastball for balls and Brinson walks. JB Shuck comes to the plate, takes a first pitch fastball before hitting the second pitch to third for the final out.

Summary: Velocity down to 94-95 on the fastball, and he’s lost a little feel for it. Had trouble throwing strikes that inning, but the thrown out baserunner combined with a couple of weakly hit balls to save his inning.

Stats: 17 pitches, 9 strikes, 0 swinging strikes, 1 hit, 0 runs, 1 Bb, 0 K

Fifth Inning: Buehler starts off the opposing pitcher Jarlin Garcia with five consecutive fastballs to strikeout the number 9 hitter. To Rojas, Buehler starts him off with three more fastballs to fall behind 0-3, the next fastball lands for a strike, followed by yet another fastball for a strike, questionable call there, the next fastball is grounded to second for the out. A first pitch curveball is hit to between the third baseman and the shortstop for a hit. First pitch to Castro is a slider at 86 for a swinging strike, a curveball drops in for a ball just a bit high, another breaking ball is called for ball on the outside. Buehler comes back with a curveball that’s fouled off, he comes back with a fastball at 96 to get the groundout, and the final out of his first major league start.

Strike three fastball

Summary: Not an efficient inning as nearly half of Buehler’s 17 pitches were outside the zone. He did get more weak contact.

Stats: 17 pitches, 9 strikes, 1 swinging strike, 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 Bb, 1 K

Final Line: 89 pitches, 55 strikes, 4 swinging strikes, 4 hits, 0 runs, 3 Bb, ND, 5 Ks, Gamescore: 61

Conclusion: A really encouraging start from Buehler, as his fastball is very good, and he spots it effectively to both right-handed and left-handed batters. His slider sat 86-89, and flashes plus, but the 80-83 MPH curveball seemed like the better out pitch, though he didn’t get many bites on it. What I saw of the 90-91 MPH changeup was of the get-me-over variety.  My concern was there is no apparent out pitch. I could see the curveball working that way, but it just didn’t generate the foolish looks indicative of a strikeout pitch. My expectations weren’t nearly met in that regard, and if this is the Buehler we’re getting, I’m a little worried about the strikeout upside. That said, the control and command of his easy high-90’s velo was impressive, picking corners all night, even if he didn’t get a few calls. The velocity waned in the fourth, and then bottomed out at 94-95 in the fifth. Not a red flag, but something to watch. All in all Buehler looked the part of a polished college arm, with an impressive repertoire of pitches he can throw for strikes. Here’s to hoping he generates some more whiffs in his next opportunity.

If you enjoy my content and want to say, “Hey, Thanks Ralph!” donate to my quest to buy a radar gun. If that’s not pathetic enough, follow me on twitter @ProspectJesus

   
  1. Tony C says:
    (link)

    Hey Ralph great stuff on Buehler. How would you rank Flaherty, Buehler, Wheeler and Newcomb for ROS? Would you trade Newcomb and Jose Martinez for Flaherty? Thanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Tony C: Flaherty, Buehler, Newcomb, and Wheeler.

  2. Count de Monetballl says:
    (link)

    Ralph the over achiever!!!

    Who do you like as the base N/A stash in a 5×5 Roto Redraft now that the Age of Acuna has arrived? Any other rooks you love for 2018 outside of this list still in the minors?

    Robles
    Vlad
    Joey Bats
    Eloy Jimenez
    Kopech
    Kyle Tucker

    Thanks
    CdM

  3. Heath says:
    (link)

    Hey Ralph,

    Would you grab and stash Kopech in a 12 team redraft league, or is it a bit too early? Thanks a lot!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Heath: A bit too early for me. I’d expect him up in June or July.

  4. Launch Angle says:
    (link)

    Loved seeing the notification on my phone that Acuna will be in the starting lineup today!

    Give me a non-binding, disclaimer filled projected stat line you think he’s going to put up…R/HR/RBI/SB/AVG.

    Do you think he will have a similar impact as Kris Bryant and Bellinger did the year they were called up in mid-late April?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Launch Angle: 72/17/65/26/.267

      He could, but I’d temper my expectations, those are all-time great rookie seasons.

  5. Charlie Harper says:
    (link)

    Yeah Fisher is really struggling in Houston. When do u see Tucker getting his shot

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Charlie Harper: I’d love to see it soon, but not sure that will be the case. Fisher has come on the last week. Tucker has been okay in AAA, but he’s showing no power, and his FB% is way down.

  6. OddBall Herrera says:
    (link)

    So how much am I going to hate myself for passing over a chance to get Senzel for basically nothing (he is currently a free agent – keeper league that doesn’t have a large enough bench to stash many guys in the minors), even though, having Ozzie the Great and Powerful and Bregman at 2B and 3B, I don’t really need him?

    I just don’t know if he has the power to be a guy you mess up your roster to get ahold of.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @OddBall Herrera: Yeah you have pretty good fill-ins.

  7. Mike

    Mike says:
    (link)

    Rowf! What’s your take on Corbin…sell high or hold?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Mike: Maikel! Have you started tanning your nuts yet to get on board with Kapler? Please tell me you saw that comment.

      I love Corbin, swinging strikes, chases, groundballs, and low contact. Stopped throwing the changeup this year, went to the curveball, moved to more two-seam fastballs over his four-seamer. The transition from the changeup to the curve has given him a weapon he lacked prior vs. RHB.

      He’s fun cause you can see the roadmap he’s following to success. We’ll see if righthanders can crack the code in the coming months. So far, so good.

  8. primetime says:
    (link)

    Ralph, thoughts of Luiz Gohara. He is scheduled for two more starts in AAA. Meaning he could be up in first week of May. Is he an automatic pick up?

    Thinking about making a move on him now as that date draws closer, but would have to drop either Ryu, EROD or Shark.

    My pitching is pretty deep in my 10 team keeper league.

    Kershaw
    Strausburg
    Nola
    Bundy
    Tailon.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @primetime: He should be, and I actually was behind home plate in the second row for Gohara’s start Sunday. I recorded all of the innings, go to my twitter and check it out.

      The fastball-slider combo is elite, I’m not sure how any lefthanded batters hit him. That said, he grooved a couple of fastballs, and really lacks a third pitch. The chagneup is not good. His fastball-slider combo will be enough for him to find some success, and fantasy relevance.

      Looking at who you got, I would hold, maybe dump Ryu for him, but he’s pitching so well.

  9. Launch Angle says:
    (link)

    Trade offer of Thor for my Acuna. I’m leaning no. His 5-cat potential with a decent amount of SB is hard to give up. What do you think?

    My roster

    C S. Perez
    1B Freeman / Abreu
    2B Merrifield / Schoop (DL)
    3B Moose
    SS Bregman
    OF Trout, Judge, Springer, Pollock, Acuna

    SP Klub, Severino, Godley, Bauer, Corbin, Pivetta, E-Rod

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Launch Angle: If it’s dynasty don’t do it. If it’s re-draft I would.

      • Launch Angle says:
        (link)

        Fairly new to fantasy baseball. Not familiar with re-draft. I’m in a 10-team, standard 5×5 season-long roto. No keeper or dynasty. We will start from scratch where we all redraft next season. Is that what you mean? Do the deal based on my roster above?

        • Launch Angle says:
          (link)

          Bump

  10. Papa Jean Segura says:
    (link)

    Lose Teosacar, Puig, or Happ for Minter in a 12er or hold? Have too many hitters… Rendon coming off the DL soon too.

  11. BootsyBaby says:
    (link)

    Hey Ralph – can only keep one, who do you drop (AL only 4×4 10 teams) – Anthony Alford, $1, keep for 2019 and 2020; Mikie Mahtook, $5, 2019 only. Thanks!

  12. knucks says:
    (link)

    Great show with Andy and Mish this week brother

  13. nightpandas says:
    (link)

    hey ralph,

    if im a longshot to get in the money this year would you trade Gallo for Eloy and a first rounder (we keep 11) 15 teams

  14. Toastwaver says:
    (link)

    Is Gohara the clear call-up over Soroka? How far away is a Soroka call-up?

Comments are closed.