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.