Draft Profile: Walker Buehler
*** With the 2015 First-Year Player Draft fast approaching, we take a closer look at the top prospects in this year's class. ***
Name: Walker Buehler
Rank on Draft Top 200: 11
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 6'2" Weight: 170 lbs.
Previously drafted: 2012, 14th (436) - PIT
Future grades on 20-80 scouting scale
30: Well below average
40: Below average
60: Above average
70-80: Well above average
Opp. Avg: .270
*Through SEC tournament
One of three potential first-round picks from Vanderbilt, Buehler had an exceptional summer, sharing playoff MVP honors in the Cape Cod League and pitching well with the U.S. collegiate national team after helping the Commodores win the College World Series. Those wanting to see that carry over to this spring had to wait, as Buehler was slowed early with elbow soreness, but was getting back to full strength as his junior season unfolded. Buehler has a deep repertoire featuring four potential solid-or-better big league pitches and the ability to throw all of them for strikes. His best offering is his 90-96 mph fastball, and while he sometimes gets caught in between his curveball and slider, both can be weapons. His changeup similarly varies from inconsistent to effective. Buehler could have been a Draft pick in the top two rounds out of a Kentucky high school in 2012 had he been signable away from Vanderbilt. The biggest knock on him is that he's just 6-foot-1 and 160 pounds, but he had been durable prior to this spring. His athleticism and sound delivery should allow him to remain a starter.
MLB comp: Roy Oswalt (more of a physical comp)
Fun fact: Thanks to his name, Buehler has heard every possible "Ferris Bueller" and "Walker, Texas Ranger," joke. "The first day of school every year growing up, every teacher thought they kind of reinvented the wheel," he said. But he's embraced it -- his Twitter handle is @buehlersdayoff.
He said it: "I think it's one of those things where you have to prove that you can be durable, and last year I threw a lot of innings. I think that helped, and proved to myself as well that I can hold up."
They said it: "It's rare when he falls behind in the count, and he's able to deal with all four of his pitches. He's such a competitive dude. He's not scared in any situation, and I just feel like every time he goes out there, he'll put our team in the best position to win."
-- Vanderbilt pitcher and No. 7 Draft prospect Carson Fulmer
He's got a great mind for the game of baseball … He thinks through the game very well. He's very astute about the game."
-- Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin