This was an instant no-brainer. Coming into the 2018 season, Walker Buehler was the boy-wonder from collegiate powerhouse, Vanderbilt, with top-shelf stuff, pedigree, and the goods to back it all up.
To say that the expectations were “high” for Buehler coming into this season, would be an utter understatement.
However, no one sets expectations higher for Walker Buehler than, Walker Buehler.
The kid-turned-man through the course of Game 163, is the perfectionist’s perfectionist. Dodgers’ legend-turned analyst, Orel Hershiser, speaks to Buehler’s elite-level makeup quite often.
In an article written by Jim Alexander of The Press Enterprise, titled: “Dodgers’ Walker Buehler the Ace-in-Waiting? Why not?” Hershiser says, “The most impressive thing about him, not the stuff, is his arrogance when he’s on the mound but his humility to learn and take in as much as he can off the mound.”
Hershiser continues, “I think his learning curve has been a lot faster than others’, but I don’t think people will recognize it because they will attribute it to the great stuff.”
Orel Hershiser knows a thing or two about pitching in MLB, we all know that. However, I think he hits at a very strong point with regard to Buehler’s inherent ability to make adjustments quicker than most pitchers in MLB.
He went from (in 2017)-being a prospect with incredible stuff who throws the ball incredibly hard and makes hitters miss because of his incredible stuff-to now, honing-in upon how to attack certain hitters with that incredible stuff that, on its own, has gotten him this far.
Due to the recently enhanced, more cerebral approach that Buehler takes with him now, onto the mound, combined with his purely dominant stuff, Walker Buehler has promptly asserted himself as the Alpha in the Dodgers’ rotation.
This assertion was made clear by his must-win start in this year’s World Series. On a stage no bigger, Buehler was a buzzsaw, slicing straight through the highly-touted Boston Red Sox’s lineup.
By the end of his outing, Buehler walked off the field with a confident swagger saying, “okay everybody, I’m here and I’m here to stay” to the rest of Major League Baseball.
Because of the impact he made across the regular season, Game 163, and the World Series this season, coupled with his ascension into the top-flight academy of Aces across baseball, Walker Buehler is easily the Dodgers’ 2018 Cy Young Award Winner.
The scariest part is, we’ve only had the privilege, thus far, of seeing the very tip of the iceberg otherwise known as, Walker Buehler.