NY Mets ace Jacob deGrom’s Cy Young competitors for 2021
By Mason Smoller
SP Walker Buehler – Los Angeles Dodgers
Back in 2017, Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitching prospect Walker Buehler appeared in eight games out of the bullpen, posting a 7.71ERA in 9.1 innings. Of course, he was never supposed to be a relief pitcher, yet his immediate impact in the starting rotation the following year was fantastic.
He finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2018 after pitching a 2.62ERA in 24 games (23 starts). Buehler earned his spot in the rotation that year and made it clear he has a very bright future.
Then in 2019, Buehler made his first All-Star game, as he ended the season with a 14-4 record to go with a 3.26ERA in 20 starts. Even during a rather underwhelming 2020 regular season, Buehler still had a 3.44ERA in eight starts. That was until a fantastic playoff stretch put Buehler’s name amongst the top pitchers in all of baseball entering 2021.
Buehler started six games in the playoffs, striking out 83 over 61.1 innings. He had a 2.35ERA in the playoffs and pitched a scoreless gem in his six frames in the Dodgers’ huge game six win of the NLCS.
Now looking towards the 2021 season, Buehler looks to go from a playoff hero and top starter to among the elite in the game. And chances are, as he is only 26-years-old, Buehler can become among the annual Cy Young candidates in the National League.
Buehler is the youngest of the threats to deGrom chasing his third Cy Young and given his Cy Young-based incentives in his new deal, he has an extra push to take home the hardware.