Buehler’s Cy Young Case

Look, the only reason Buehler wasn’t being talked about all year is currently shut down for the Mets. Degrom is surely going to get Cy Young votes, and maybe even some first place ones this offseason. But at this point, the competition has finally surpassed him in value by pitching just a half step lower for much longer. Including LA’s Walker Buehler as he goes against none other than the New York Mets tonight.

So before we make specific arguments as to what gives Buehler the edge over his counterparts, let’s just take a quick look at his major stats and NL rankings among pitchers.

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Highlights:

  • Buehler’s 2021 Stats
  • Arguments for Cy Buehler
  • His Main Competition
  • Why They Might Win
  • Dark Horses For Betting Fun

Buehler’s Stats

2021 Main Stats (Current NL Ranks):

  • 5.5 WAR (3rd)
  • 12 W’s (3rd)
  • 2 L’s (1st)
  • 2.09 ERA (1st)
  • 0.94 WHIP (5th)
  • 154.2 IP (2nd)
  • 162 SO (7th)
  • .189 BAA (5th)
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Other Standout Stats (and Rankings)

  • W-L% .857 (1st)
  • 3.95 K/BB (9th)
  • 188 ERA+ (2nd)
  • 3.5 Win Probability Added (WPA) (3rd)

Arguments For Buehler

  • Division Factor

It’s no secret that the NL West is tough this year. He’s had 5 games against the lower tier D-backs and Rockies and has been downright lethal on the mound.

But more importantly he’s kept the Padres at bay in 2 games and has almost silenced the first place Giants in 5 starts. The Padres averaged only 2 runs a start against him, while the Giants could only muster an average of less than 1 earned run per start.

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A huge reason he has 3 wins against the team (despite 5 great starts). Overall he has a stellar 1.34 ERA in arguably the Dodger’s biggest games of the year to date.

  • Getting Better As The Year Goes On

Buehler’s worst month by far was April. A month where he pitched 31+ innings to a 3.16 ERA with about a strikeout per inning. In May, he pitching a couple more innings dropping his ERA to 2.18 during the month.

In June, he pitched a season high 6 starts and 39 IP in one month. He went 5-1 with a 1.85 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. He topped that off by once again lowering his monthly ERA to 1.67 and going 3-0 in July. However he managed to up his strikeout rate leading to 38 K’s in 32.1 IP.

Now he’s two starts in to August and goes in to his start tonight with an ERA of 1.50 for the month. A gem tonight would obviously continue his season trend and possibly make him the Cy favorite on betting books.

  • 20 for 23 Quality Starts

It’s possible no other pitcher will finish the year being more dependable than Buehler has been every night. He has been 20 for 23 in quality starts so far, and here’s the lines for the other 3…

  • vs. Cin: 6.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 10 K’s
  • vs. Sea: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 3 HR, 1 BB, 8 K’s
  • @ Mia: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 6 K’s

That 5 inning start is also the only time Walker has failed to finish at least 6 innings. 9 of his 23 were even through 7 innings or more. He’s blanked opposing teams entirely in 6 starts, 7 if you don’t count his start with 1 unearned run against him. 4 more starts were only 1 run. We think the point is made.

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The Main Competition

  • Zack Wheeler
    • 6.0 WAR, 10-7, 2.56 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 187 K’s

Wheeler is likely the biggest competition for Buehler coming down the stretch. His 6.0 WAR actually leads all of baseball at the moment. It helps that he’s pitched more innings than anyone else in baseball, but that’s just adding to his case. His 187 J’s also currently lead the majors and contribute to great expected stats.

If Wheeler closes the ERA gap with Buehler, Walker will lose his biggest edge over the Phillies ace. Other than that, Wheeler has faced a much lower level of competition this year giving Buehler another edge.

  • Brandon Woodruff
    • 7-6, 2.18 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 163 K’s

Woodruff may actually overtake Wheeler as the odds on favorite soon. His ERA is only behind Buehler, his WHIP is tied for 1st, he’s top 5 in K’s, and he’s on a division leading team.

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However, the division does not compare to the NL West and Woodruff has been riding an exceptional first half while just being a B+ pitcher with an ERA above 3 for the past two months. But if Woodruff finishes the season like he started it, he may be impossible to beat.

Dark Horse Bets

Tier 1

  • Corbin Burnes
  • Kevin Gausman

Tier 2

  • Max Scherzer
  • Wade Miley
  • Freddy Peralta

Tier 3

  • Julio Urias
  • Adam Wainwright
  • Charlie Morton

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