The Dodgers drafted Walker Buehler in 2015, with the 24th overall pick. Buehler is quickly emerging as one of the top reliable starters in LA’s pitching rotation in his young career.
Heading into the last month of the regular season in what is Walker Buehler’s first real stint at starting in the majors, Buehler has not disappointed. Buehler has exceeded expectations asked of him, to say the least; with an impressive 6-4 win-loss record, and a 3.02 ERA complimenting that. Even more impressive, he has ironed out his mechanics and has an ERA of 2.36 in his last seven starts!
As a starting pitcher, Buehler is also pitching pretty deep in games, counting for at least six to seven innings pitched on average. Keeping his ERA under 3.00 in his recent starts says a lot, as Buehler has faced NL and AL contenders in recent outings.
The last five games Walker’s pitched, he has gotten better against very competitive teams this late in the season. Starting with the Brewers, world series champion Astros, Rockies, Mariners, and the streaking hot Cardinals. Pitching on average 6.2 innings per game his last 5 starts.
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Buehler only gave up two runs to the Astros and just one run to the Mariners. Although, he gave up plenty of hits in these games, Buehler was able to close out innings which is very important. Walker successfully held the hot hitting St. Louis Cardinals in check recently going seven innings and allowing no earned runs.
What really separates Buehler from most young starting pitchers is his ability to stay efficient with his pitches and routinely make it into the sixth inning. Fellow Dodger starters like Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley, were always approaching 100 pitches by the fifth inning when they tried to establish themselves in the majors.
Young Walker Buehler seems to be getting stronger as the season goes on. In August, Buehler has allowed a .175 opponent’s batting average and posted an ERA of 1.53. Since his return from the disabled list, Buehler has been as consistent as any Dodger pitcher including Clayton Kershaw.
The fact that Buehler can hold his own in this starting pitching rotation which is led by Clayton Kershaw and pitch the Dodgers into contention in the playoff race says enough. On top of being a reliable starter giving up three runs a game on average, Walker Buehler is already emerging as a top starting pitcher in a very good rotation so far in his young career. Given what we all have seen this year, Buehler should only become more dominant in the following years to come.