I don't think I'm ready to call Walker Buehler a "bust" just yet, but he's not a priority target for me in drafts right now. Buehler almost certainly won't be in the Dodgers' Opening Day rotation, as manager Dave Roberts told reporters this weekend about Buehler, "I think it's very safe to say it's going to be a late start to the season." 

Now, I want to be clear: This isn't a reason to panic for Buehler. He's coming back from a second Tommy John surgery (as well as a flexor tendon repair in the same elbow), and the Dodgers are, as far as we know, playing the long game with Buehler's recovery. We've already seen that in how they handled him at the end of last season when he was shut down after one rehab assignment rather than trying to rush back for the playoffs. The Dodgers have their eyes on overcoming their recent playoff woes, and having a healthy Buehler for October is a lot more important than having him available for the start of the season.

That makes sense, and it's worth noting that the Dodgers' Opening Day is about a week ahead of everyone else's, since they're playing a two-game series against the Padres on March 20. So, maybe Buehler will be a few weeks behind his teammates without actually missing much time at all. The Dodgers are going to have to find some way to limit Buehler's innings anyway, and it might be easier to simply limit him early on than trying to find ways to limit him throughout the season. 

We saw something similar in 2019, when Buehler wasn't fully stretched out to start the season and didn't read the 90-pitch mark in a start until  April 17. Despite being limited (and struggling as a result of it) early on, he still ended up with a 3.26 ERA over 182.1 innings, finishing as the No. 12 SP. I'll take the under on Buehler reaching 182.1 innings this season, but even if he only throws 140, those should be some pretty high quality innings, and Buehler's price is already starting to fall to reflect that, as his ADP is down to 154.0 in NFBC drafts since Feb. 1. At that price, I can't call Buehler a "bust." It's almost all upside at that point. 

But it's not all upside. That same range as Buehler features names like Carlos Rodon, Bailey Ober, Mitch Keller, and Nick Pivetta, all of whom feature plenty of upside of their own you might be passing on to pick Buehler. And, while he could return ace-level production once he's fully cleared, that's not a guarantee coming off this injury; and, given Buehler's history, health will remain a significant question mark moving forward.

He doesn't crack my busts list at this point, but I definitely considered Buehler before this most recent news, when he was going off the board more in the SP30 range. And, if Buehler ends up getting pushed back up boards like that, I'll definitely have to reconsider it.