Fantasy Baseball Impact If Alex Wood of the Los Angeles Dodgers goes on the DL
Alex Wood (P) Left Tuesday's LA Dodgers game with an apparent hamstring injury
Tuesday April 17, 2018
Alex Wood (SP Los Angeles Dodgers) left the game on April 17 after 5.1 innings with hamstring tightness. Hamstring injuries tend to linger and this could require Alex Wood to go on the DL. If Wood goes on the DL for any extended period of time, how will the Los Angeles Dodgers fill his spot in the rotation? Julio Urias (SP Los Angeles Dodgers) is currently on the DL recovering from shoulder surgery and is not an option because he won’t be back until August at the minimum.
The short and long term option figures to be the number 1 Los Angeles Dodgers prospect…..flamethrower Walker Buehler (SP/RP Los Angeles Dodgers). Buehler fell to the Dodgers who drafted him with the 24th draft pick in the 1st round in 2015 and is coming off Tommy John surgery which delayed his arrival to the big leagues. There were concerns around the league with his skinny body frame which is why he fell to the 24th pick when in reality Buehler should have been a top 10 pick. Buehler is listed at 6’2 and 175 pounds which is probably a generous weight designation. However, Buehler has a live arm and shows terrific arm strength with a jerky delivery that disguises his breaking ball well. Buehler made a brief cameo in the majors in 2017 but struggled with a 7.71 ERA and 8 walks in just 9.1 innings. Buehler did have 12 K’s which indicates how explosive he can be. However, Buehler had a 3.35 ERA with 125 K in 89 innings in the minors in 2017.
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Buehler’s fastball is consistently in the high 90’s and shows huge swing and miss potential with his high rising fastball. Buehler’s curveball is also very effective with true 12 to 6 action. His curve does have trouble staying in the strike zone because of the sharp 12 to 6 action but both Buehler’s fastball and curveball are considered plus pitches. Buehler is working on his slider which often ranges 90-91 mph. He uses the slider to induce groundballs and his groundball rate of 56% was amongst the highest in the Dodgers organization in 2017. Buehler’s changeup is his 4th best pitch which he is still developing.
Buehler will most likely have a 150 innings or so cap limit put on him but Walker Buehler will be part of the Dodgers future plans in 2018 regardless if he replaces Alex Wood immediately. If he does replace Wood, I anticipate he will be a 5-6 inning starter at best as the Dodgers will not want to overuse him in the regular season….most likely because they want him available on the postseason roster if the Dodgers make it.
We will keep you posted on Alex Wood’s hamstring injury but regardless, keep Walker Buehler on your radar because he is a rising star pitching in a great pitcher’s ballpark.