Mandatory Photo Credit: mlb.com
Walker Buehler, RHP, Vanderbilt University
If you scour the Yankees farm system for impact pitching depth, just two names stick out, Luis Severino and Jacob Lindgren. Outside of those two, Ian Clarkin and Bryan Mitchell might raise an eyebrow or two, but the bottom line is the Yankees are weak in terms of minor league pitching.
With that said, one player the Yankees should target with their 16th overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft is Walker Buehler, a 6’2″ right-handed pitcher out of Vanderbilt University and a native of Lexington, Kentucky.
Buehler, currently in his junior year with the Commodores has a 16-5 record with a 2.83 ERA over 35 collegiate appearances. According to his coach, Buehler has been very consistent and a natural winner on the Vanderbilt pitching staff since his freshman year in 2013.
"“He came to us with an advanced skill set for pitching and he has continually improved upon that. Walker has great aptitude for the game and his ability continues to move forward.”"
Most recently, Buehler pitched for Vanderbilt against Radford University on June 1st in the NCAA Regional Final, earning a win after tossing five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and striking out seven. It was Buehler’s second straight NCAA Regional Championship win. This season he’s also had an impressive streak of four consecutive quality starts (4/10-5/3), which included a seven inning performance in which he struck out nine in a no-decision against the University of Missouri. On April 10th he recorded a collegiate career high 13 strikeouts over eight innings in a no decision v. Ole Miss.
The Commodores are heading to Illinois for a Super Regional matchup with a College World Series birth on the line. Game one is against the Illinois Fighting Illini, and though Buehler won’t be on the mound, you can certainly expect to see him pitch in game two or three should Vanderbilt make it that far.
The last time Vanderbilt appeared in the College World Series was in 2014, as Buehler tossed 5.1 no-hit innings out of the pen against UC Irvine while punching out seven to earn the win. He capped off 2014 with an impressive 12-2 record with a 2.64 ERA and 111 strikeouts over 102.1 innings pitched.
Walker Buehler would probably become the Yankees second best pitching prospect right after Luis Severino.