Dodgers put Buehler one step away

Los Angeles promotes No. 4 prospect to Triple-A Oklahoma City

Walker Buehler has racked up 91 strikeouts over 65 1/3 innings between Rancho Cucamonga and Tulsa. (Tammy Tucker/MiLB.com)

By Michael Leboff / MiLB.com | July 16, 2017 6:16 PM ET

Walker Buehler's breakout season will continue in Oklahoma City.

The Dodgers on Sunday promoted their fourth-ranked prospect to Triple-A after 11 starts with Double-A Tulsa. He's expected to make his Pacific Coast League debut on Thursday against Memphis. 

It's the second in-season promotion for the 2015 first-round pick. Los Angeles moved Buehler up from Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga to Tulsa on May 10. 

Video: Tulsa's Buehler notches seventh strikeout

Buehler, named Texas League Pitcher of the Week on July 2, produced a 3.49 ERA and 1.12 WHIP while striking out 64 over 49 innings in 11 starts for the Drillers. He averaged nearly 12 strikeouts per nine innings and had a 51 percent ground-ball rate in the Texas League.

Overall, the 22-year-old has fanned 35 percent of the 258 batters he's faced across the two levels this season.

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The Dodgers have handled Buehler, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015, carefully all year. The Vanderbilt product has yet to throw more than 80 pitches or complete six innings in any of his 16 outings. 

Despite his limited innings, Buehler has managed to put together five outings with at least eight strikeouts, including one for Rancho Cucamonga in which he whiffed eight of the nine hitters he faced.

Michael Leboff is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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