The Dodgers in June's 2015 First-Year Player Draft had the No. 24 and the No. 35 overall picks -- that's two first-round selections for a team in contending mode, and that's typically a very good thing. With those two picks, the Dodgers first chose Vanderbilt right-hander Walker Buehler and then tabbed Louisville right-hander Kyle Funkhouser. Those were very sensible choices, as each has a good deal of upside by the standards of college-trained hurlers.
However, the wheels of a promising first round came off on Friday, the deadline for coming to terms with 2015 draft picks. First, here's what happened with Funkhouser ...
Wanted to be the first to announce tht I will not be signing, and will return to the University of Louisville for my senior season #L1C4— Kyle Funkhouser (@k_funk16) July 17, 2015
So Funkhouser will not be a Dodger, at least not this time around. Good news seemed to come down shortly thereafter, when the Dodgers came to terms with Buehler on a below-slot deal ($1.78 million). However, we quickly learned why they were able to sign Buehler seemingly at a discount ...
Walker buehler, dodgers No. W pick, needs tommy john surgery, sources say.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 17, 2015
Indeed, Buehler will undergo reconstructive elbow surgery and be sidelined for at least a calendar year or so. That, of course, is in addition to the loss of Funkhouser.
All is not bleak, though, as the Dodgers, per Baseball America, will received the No. 36 overall pick in 2016 as compensation for failing to come to terms with Funkhouser. As well, upwards of 80 percent of pitchers undergoing Tommy John surgery get back to their pre-surgical levels of performance. As such, there's a still a strong chance that he can at least have a shot at living up to his potential in the pro ranks. Still, tough day if you work in the Dodgers scouting department.
In matters related -- and as ESPN's Keith Law pointed out on Twitter -- maybe this is the final impetus needed to get pre-draft physicals in place.