The Los Angeles Dodgers announced Walker Buehler, their first-round selection and No. 24 overall pick from the 2015 MLB Draft, is set to undergo Tommy John surgery. The procedure is scheduled for Wednesday, will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache and Buehler’s recovery period is expected to be 12-18 months.
The news doesn’t come as much of a surprise as it was reported July 17 (the deadline for draft picks to sign) Buehler needed the operation. Buehler signed with the Dodgers for $1.78 million, under the $2,094,400 allotted slot value for the pick, with the reasoning as it later became known due to the elbow issue.
Buehler was among the several pitchers the Dodgers drafted this year, though they’ve now lost their top two picks; albeit for different reasons. While the Dodgers worked to sign Buehler, they failed to come to terms with Kyle Funkhouser, the No. 35 overall pick, who decided to return to Louisville for a senior season.
Buehler was 5-2 with a 2.95 ERA in 16 starts for Vanderbilt as a junior. He accumulated 92 strikeouts to 30 walks over 88 innings and helped guide the Commodores to the College World Series final, where they fell short of repeating as champions.
Given the injury and expected surgery, Buehler was not assigned to a Dodgers Minor League affiliate upon conclusion of his collegiate career.