Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2022
Arguably, during the 2021 season, Walker Buehler was the ace of the Dodger starting rotation, but he ran out of gas in September and in the playoffs. After pitching the most in his career during 2021, Buehler might be prone to an arm injury.
Before coming to the Dodgers in September 2017, Buehler had undergone Tommy John surgery. Since the middle of the 2018 season, Buehler has dominated the opposition, particularly in crucial games. His two-seam fastball averages 97 miles-per-hour. He can baffle hitters with his four-seam (rising) fastball. Buehler has both a terrific rainbow curveball and an unhittable slider. He is working on a changeup and showed much improvement during the 2021 season.
Before September 2021, Buehler must have been the leading candidate for the National League Cy Young Award. He had almost flawless control. He rarely did not pitch less than six innings.
Then, Buehler collapsed from exhaustion in September when he had a 5.40 ERA. For the first time in his career, he pitched 207 2/3 innings particularly after hurling only 36 2/3 innings during the COVID-abbreviated 2020 season without counting the postseason. There is no doubt that the Dodgers overused Buehler as well as Julio Urías in their desire to continue of winning the National League Western Division titles. The Dodgers had a huge lead in the National League Wild Card race. The Dodgers could not catch the surprising San Francisco Giants. If they could focus on reaching the playoffs instead of winning their division, they might have prevented Buehler from having an awful September.
Buehler still had an amazing season with 16 wins, 4 losses, a 2.47 ERA, 52 walks, and 212 strikeouts. Going into the 2022 season, Buehler must be considered as an ace of the Dodger starting rotation. However, his overuse during 2021 may cause an injury. This fact needs to motivate the Dodger organization and their new GM to find another fantastic starter.