Dodgers go for arms in draft
They select pitchers, including Buehler in first round, with three of first four picks.
In their first amateur draft under a new scouting director, the Dodgers used three of their first four selections on college pitchers.
Right-hander Walker Buehler of Vanderbilt was their first-round pick, at 24th overall.
Another highly rated right-hander, Ryan Funkhouser of Louisville, fell to them at the 35th pick, which they received as compensation when Hanley Ramirez signed with the Boston Red Sox in the off-season.
Billy Gasparino, who replaced the departed Logan White as scouting director, used his two other first-day selections on Mitchell Hansen, a high school outfielder from Plano, Texas, and Josh Sborz, a right-hander from the University of Virginia.
Hansen was taken in the second round, at 67th overall, and Sborz in the competitive balance B round, at 74th overall. The pick used on Sborz was acquired in April from the Baltimore Orioles.
Buehler, Funkhouser and Sborz are juniors.
Buehler is listed at 6 feet 2 and 175 pounds and has a fastball that touches the mid-90s mph. Scouts have praised his maturity and mound presence.
Gasparino compared Buehler to Zack Greinke, who happens to be one of Buehler’s role models.
“My whole career, I’ve looked up to Zack Greinke,” Buehler said on a conference call.
Buehler pitched at Dodger Stadium in March in the Dodger Stadium Baseball Classic. He is 4-2 with a 2.97 earnedrun average in 14 starts for Vanderbilt this season.
Funkhouser was expected to be a high first-round selection after a dominant sophomore season, but his stock slipped after he was 8-5 with a 3.20 ERA this year.
Gasparino said he is confident the Dodgers can sign all four players.