Buehler, the club’s first-round draft pick out of Vanderbilt in 2015, made his major league debut in September, pitching in relief over the season’s final month and allowing eight runs on 11 hits in 9⅓ innings, with 12 strikeouts and eight walks.
2018 top Dodgers prospects
|Walker Buehler RHP||23||1||1|
|Alex Verdugo OF||22||2||2|
|Keibert Ruiz C||19||4||3|
|Yadier Alvarez RHP||22||3||5|
|Mitchell White RHP||23||7||4|
|Yusniel Diaz OF||21||6||6|
|Jeren Kendall OF||22||8||7|
|Dustin May RHP||20||5|
|DJ Peters OF||22||8|
|Will Smith C||23||9|
|Gavin Lux SS/2B||20||9|
|Dennis Santana RHP||22||10|
|Jordan Sheffield RHP||23||10|
“He has two fully developed pitches — a fastball with the ability to touch 99 and solid natural sink, and a mid-80s curveball that he can throw either as a set-up or for a strike,” wrote Kate Morrison at Baseball Prospectus. “If the Dodgers plan to work him as a starter, finding a solid third pitch will be his toughest decision.”
Buehler was rated to have the top curveball in the Dodgers’ system by Baseball America.
Alex Verdugo was rated the Dodgers’ No. 4 prospect on both lists last year and checks in second now.
Catcher Keibert Ruiz, who was named the organization’s Branch Rickey minor league player of the year, was a fast riser on this list, checking in at No. 3 at Baseball America and No. 4 at Baseball Prospectus.
The 19-year-old switch-hitter hit .316/.361/.452 with 23 doubles and eight home runs between Class-A Great Lakes and Advanced Class-A Rancho Cucamonga in 2017.
“The Dodgers boast the deepest and highest-quality collection of catchers of any system in the game,” wrote Kyle Glaser at Baseball America. “Keibert Ruiz heads the group as a premier prospect, Will Smith projects as a quality future everyday catcher, 2017 draftee Connor Wong is an intriguing athlete moving quickly and Kyle Farmer is a present major league-caliber backup.”
Pitcher Yadier Alvarez topped the Dodgers’ Baseball Prospectus list last offseason, just ahead of Cody Bellinger, and was second at Baseball America, but this year Alvarez drops to third at BP and is ranked fifth by BA.
In all there are seven common names on both top 10 lists, including 2017 first-round pick Jeren Kendall out of Vanderbilt. The outfielder checks in at No. 7 at BA and No. 8 at BP after his first professional season.
Buehler and Verdugo are the only two on these lists who are on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, with pitcher Dennis Santana — No. 10 on the Baseball America list — a likely addition later on Monday.