Walker Buehler relief experiment
Watching Pedro Baez struggle last night, I was left wondering how the Walker Buehler experiment is doing.
Walker Buehler is currently the Dodgers top pitching prospect and after a disastrous first start in AAA he settled down and looked more like the Dodgers top pitching prospect. A few weeks ago the Dodger front office moved Walker from the rotation in AAA to the bullpen and said they might consider him for October in a relief role. I kind of scoffed at the idea given that Walker admitted he was mentally shaky in his first start in AAA. How could a guy who couldn’t handle the dim lights of a debut AAA start shine in October when the glare is magnified 100 times and looks like this?
The hurdles for Buehler are significant.
- He has to prove dominant as a setup man in AAA
- He has to get promoted to the Dodgers and prove dominant in highly leveraged outings.
- He needs an opening
Hurdle one has been hit and miss. Walker has made five appearances and been dominant in two of the five. In the other three, he has given up eight hits while getting eleven outs. That percentage of success won’t cut it in October.
Date Inngs IP H ER BB SO HR 2017-08-05 7-8 1.1 2 3 1 2 1 2017-08-09 7-9 2.0 1 0 2 1 0 2017-08-13 (2) 6-7 2.0 0 0 0 5 0 2017-08-16 (2) 6-6 1.0 3 1 0 1 0 2017-08-20 6-7 1.1 3 1 0 2 0
The first part of hurdle two will probably happen as soon as the rosters open up in Sept. From that point on we can see how he does but we do have to keep in mind that no game in Sept is a must win game, while every game in October will be.
One misstep by the rookie could bring an end to the historic Dodger campaign.
Is there any room for him? We have to remember that only four of the seven Dodger starters will be in the rotation leaving McCarthy, Ryu, and probably Kenta as pitchers available for bullpen duty, and all of them could be useful in that role. You also have Brock Stewart who has given up just two earned runs in seven games in relief.
Kenley Jansen, Brandon Morrow, Luis Avilan, Tony Watson, Tony Cingrani, Javier Baez, Ross Stripling, Brock Stewart, McCarthy, Ryu, and either Kenta/Hill/Wood.
I’m just not sure where Walker would fit even if he has a great Sept unless the names mentioned above suffer some injuries or implode. A few of them have to be left off anyway.
I guess it is a good problem because if Walker Buehler does push his way onto the October roster because of performance, it would have had to have been an incredible run.
I’m still betting against it while admitting it would be exciting if we could have a Bob Welch situation.