2017 Texas League Top 20 Prospects


Walker Buehler (John Williamson)

Championship Series
Midland (Athletics) 3
Tulsa (Dodgers) 2
Best Record
San Antonio (Padres), 78-62 (.557)
Most Valuable Player
Matt Beatty, 1B/3B, Tulsa (Dodgers)
Pitcher Of The Year
Dakota Hudson, RHP, Springfield (Cardinals)

SEE ALSO: Texas League Top 20 Chat

To qualify for a Minor League Top 20 Prospects list, a position player must have one plate appearance per team game, a starting pitcher must have one-third of an inning per team game and a reliever must have 20 relief appearances.

One of the most impressive streaks in the minor leagues continued this season when Midland won its fourth Texas League title in a row. The Athletics affiliate did so in come-from-behind fashion against Tulsa, winning three straight road games after dropping the first two at home.

After allowing a combined 10 runs in the first two games of the championship series, Midland's pitching staff sparked the three-game rally. The Rockhounds allowed a total of just three runs in their final three victories, including a 1-0 win in the winner-take-all Game 5 that was led by six scoreless innings from righthander James Naile.

While Midland's playoff run stole the end-of-season headlines, San Antonio boasted the best regular-season record at 78-62, one game better than Tulsa and Springfield.

From a prospect standpoint, the 2017 crop of players might not have the star power of the 2015 class that featured Carlos Correa and Corey Seagar, or even the 2016 group led by Alex Bregman, but several talented pitchers on this list have already made their major league debuts, and there are a bevy of young hitters in their early 20s who seem on track for big league success in the near future.

1. Walker Buehler, RHP, Tulsa (Dodgers) | 📹
Age: 23 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 175 Drafted: Vanderbilt, 2015 (1)

Before making his big league debut as a reliever in September, Buehler made successful stops at three different minor league levels in 2017, which included a 10-week stay at Tulsa. After recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2015 and pitching just five innings in 2016, he threw 88.2 innings in the minors prior to his callup.

Buehler made 11 starts in the TL during his meteoric rise and pitched off a 95-99 mph fastball that jumps on hitters quickly. He also throws a plus slider and true north-to-south curveball to help rack up 11.8 strikeouts and just 2.8 walks per nine innings.

Having feel for an at least average changeup that's especially effective against lefthanded hitters gives Buehler the full arsenal necessary to project as at least a No. 2 starter. The biggest questions he face regard his lean frame and thus questionable stamina and durability.

2 2 3.49 11 11 0 49 40 19 19 5 15 64 .225

This Article is a paid feature of the Baseball America website. To continue reading, please sign-in.

Login to Your AccountPurchase Website Access