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Dodgers: Experts Call Walker Buehler ‘Clear Leader’ in NL Cy Young Race



For Dodgers fans, we always knew this season would come for Walker Buehler. That is, LA ace Walker Buehler. Since making his debut in 2017, the phrase future Cy Young award winner has often been the lead-in to his name. And we’ve all seen why, particularly in his postseason dominance over the years.

While Walker has made his name in postseason games, usually the regular season for the right-hander has come with what if’s… but in 2021, that is absolutely not the case. 

By the numbers, Buehler is putting together his best regular season by far. He’s leading baseball in win percentage (.867), ERA (2.05), ERA+ (194), quality starts (24), and a few other advanced stats. He’s second in batting average allowed (.187), WHIP (0.91), innings pitched (176) and is top-10 in most other important counting stats.

In short, Butane is on fire.

With that in mind, and the season now into the first week of September, Buehler is hearing less future Cy Young award winner and more Cy Young favorite in 2021. In fact, one MLB analyst has him as “clear leader” in the NL Cy Young award race right now. CBS Sports MLB writer Matt Snyder shared his analysis of Walker’s chances of winning the 13th Cy Young award in franchise history.

Yes, I believe Buehler is the clear leader right now. This would make the Dodgers’ cushion in most Cy Youngs even bigger. Buehler currently has the best ERA in the league at 2.05 with second place being 2.27. He also leads in ERA+ somewhat comfortably and is second in WHIP. Further, with these excellent rate stats, he doesn’t come with workload concerns. He is second in innings pitched. He also sits fifth in strikeouts. If you’re into this one, Buehler also leads all NL starters in win probability added. I’m not sure this would be unanimous right now, but Buehler is the clear leader in the clubhouse. 

As Dodger legend and current SportsNet LA color commentator, Orel Hershiser put it recently

Walker Buehler is at the top of that pack and if you’re at the top of the best staff in baseball, you’re probably the best pitcher in baseball.

The NL Cy Young race will come down to Walker, Zach Wheeler of the Phillies and Brewers ace Corbin Burnes, but the clear favorite surely should be World Series champion Walker F’n Buehler.

NEXT: Dave Roberts Feels Justin Turner is Close to Breaking Out of his 2nd Half Swoon

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. After having to awatch that homeplate umpire butcher balls & strikes, can anyone still argue against electronic balls and strikes?

    • Dave, the offense choked at the wrong times, for example that .169 hitting Bellinger with 2RISP and one out and he struck out as per usual in those situations.. Look, Pollock is out for a few weeks but there IS A WAY around having to put Bellinger in the lineup and that is to send one of those16 pitchers down and bring Beaty up to play LF.

  2. Timing is everything isn’t it? Buehler has one bad start all year but it’s in the biggest game of the year (so far) and it’s against the Giants with 1st place at stake and the game is on national TV. Jansen only has a few blown saves all year but 2 of those were back to back blown saves against the Giants when 1st place was on the line. Timing is everything.
    The best news for the Dodgers, since they insist on rolling over and playing dead against the Giants head-to-head, is that they don’t play S.F. again in the regular season. Typically, you want to play the team you are competing with the most for a Divisional Title as often as possible the final month of the season, so you can truly control your own destiny, but not this year, not now. The Dodgers have already had enough chances against S.F. and blown too many of those chances. Let’s see what they can do against everybody else the next 4 weeks.

    • Lo and behold, the Giants came out and played a good game and showed why they are once again in1st and we saw the Dodgers show why they will likely see their 8 year division title run come to an end and Roberts will have to settle for that one and done game. It’s getting to the point with Bellinger that Roberts, even without Pollock, cannot continue playing Cody every day. Runners on 2nd and 3rd, 1 out and what does Bellinger do? He swings wasteful and strikes out, bring the pitcher up only to fan as well. Giants intheir half of inning had that same situation with runners on 2nd and 3rd but they score 3 runs in that situation. Giants had 2 bunt hits to beat the shift while Dodgers have a total of 3 bunt hits ALL YEAR! Bellinger comes up again and grounds right into the shift for another easy out. Giants had good situational hitting tonight and Dodgers did not.

    • Peters in 30 games with Texas: 9 HR 22 RBI 4 DBL
      Tsutsugo in 19 games with Pittsburgh: 7 HR 13 RBI 3 DBL

      Peters HR to AB ratio with Texas is off the charts.
      Tsutsugo has leveled off of late but his 1st 2 weeks with Pittsburgh were incredible.
      His OPS is now 1.194

      I’m sure that mostly their offensive production is due to both players getting to play regularly and not having to worry about being shuffled back and forth. Also, they are in much, much lower leverage situations, playing for 2 terrible teams that aren’t going anywhere vs. playing for the defending WS champs in a major market like L.A.
      However, especially with the Dodgers’ continuing offensive struggles, it kinda of makes you sick to see these 2 players, who were just horrible with the Dodgers (Tsutsugo never had hit a lick at the MLB level), 2 players who didn’t look like they belonged anywhere near the Bigs, to be putting up the power numbers they’ve put up the past few weeks. No matter how much more favorable their current circumstances are, it’s pretty shocking. I didn’t think that either player had it in them, at least, not this season.

      • Correct about Peters, playing on team with no pressure and no big stage expectations. He’s getting a chance to play regularly and if we still had Peters on our club, he would be ideal to fill in for Pollock AND he would allow Roberts to keep Bellinger out of starting lineup.

    • DJ Peters and Cody Thomas. Two power bats (R/L) that Andrew Friedman let go for nothing. Both will be major regrets. Here’s Thomas update from July for those not following him:

      Las Vegas (KSNV) — Minor League Baseball announced its list of June players and pitchers of the month on Friday. Of those players, Aviators outfielder Cody Thomas was named the Triple-A West’s Player of the Month. MiLB reports Thomas, 26, led the league in home runs, RBI’s, total bases, and slugging percentage.

      Along with Yordan Alvarez, that’s three big power hitters Friedman overlooked. While he’s done an excellent job building this team, he’s let go several diamonds in the rough.

      Now the new trend in social media is comparing DJ Peters with Cody Bellinger, as these two are progressing in completely opposite directions, that’s really make everyone wonder, if Dave Roberts had any saying in releasing DJ Peters.

  3. Just for “fun”…
    Tsutsugo since playing for Pittsburgh: 1 HR every 6.42 AB’s
    Peters since playing for Texas: 1 HR every 12.88 AB’s
    16 HR’s combined in 49 combined games played.

    Maybe Beaty and McKinstry can become the next Tsutsugo and Peters. LOL

  4. yep, doyers lost today…um, why are ppl acting like SF owns us? what’s the season series,10-9? THAT is not getting owned. save the outrage, there’s lots of season left and just a game separating us, both overall and head-to-head. it’s actually fitting. people act like it’s EIGHT GAMES. are you all forgetting that about a month ago we actually WERE staring at a pretty healthy deficit?

    and truth be told, i’d RATHER we had another series or two with the giants. THEN at least we would KNOW by the end, the dodgers either EARNED it or just, finally, did not have it.

    but that’s not the case. stick with your team, people! they’re pretty damn good. and ONE BAD GAME out of HOW MANY this year, for buehler? please.

  5. Instead of writing a puff piece why Buehler should win CY award the reporters who cover the Dodgers should be asking Roberts these questions:
    Why is Beaty being demoted? With Beaty’s hitting numbers so much better than Bellinger, McKinney or McKinstry was decision to demote Beaty based on the numbers and analytics they are always touting?
    Why doesn’t the manager or one of the coaches make adjustments in Bellinger’s swing mechanics and set up? Right now Bellinger is probably the worst position player hitter in all of baseball –
    Why was AJ (probably our best hitter since ASG) trying to steal 3B with TWO outs?

  6. The Dodgers should offer Mad Max 90 millions USD for 3years deal. Trade Bellinger and Lux in the off season

  7. After his last start, Buehler (13-3, 2.31) is ranked in a three-way tie with Scherzer (13-4, 2.28) and Urias (16-3, 3.11). If Urias finishes out as he has been pitching of late, he will lead the league in wins by far and potentially have an ERA below 3.00. Hard to pass up this darkhorse!

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