In its initial mock draft, Baseball America projects the Tigers to take right-handed pitcher Walker Buehler, a junior attending Vanderbilt University, with the 22nd pick of the first round. The 6-2, 175-pounder fits into the Tigers' typical draft strategy, John Manuel wrote.
"Throws hard? Check. Pitches in Southeastern Conference? Check," he wrote. "Walker Buehler fits the Tigers' pattern all too well. If Jay is still available, he could be pitching vital innings out of the Tigers' pen in playoff games in October."
Buehler has a 2.86 ERA through 10 starts this season for the Commodores. He has 61 strikeouts and 16 walks in 57 innings, and has struck out as many as 13 in a game in his career. He can also pitch out of the pen, and did so during while helping Vandy to a College World Series title in 2014. A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Buehler turns 21 in July.
Commodores head coach Tim Corbin had this to say about Buehler:
"Walk has been a very consistent performer and winner on our pitching staff since his freshman year. 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. He has been a a?oebig gamea?? pitcher for us and will once again have a large role on our staff."