The ace of the Los Angeles Dodgers is no longer future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw but young right-hander Walker Buehler – a potential Cy Young winner just like Kershaw was three times over. Here are two props available to wager at Mybookie on Buehler’s 2020 MLB season – assuming there is one – and an overview of the right-hander.
Walker Buehler MLB Odds For 2020 Season
When did the torch officially pass from Kershaw to Buehler as the L.A. ace last year? When Dodgers manager Dave Roberts chose Buehler to start Game 1 of the National League Division series over Kershaw and the 2019 NL ERA leader, Hyun-Jin Ryu. Kershaw was the Dodgers’ Game 1 starter from 2013 through 2017. Ryu was tapped for Game 1 of the NLDS in 2018.
The choice was wise as Buehler allowed just one hit over six innings and struck out eight as the Dodgers beat the Nationals 6-0 in Game 1 of the NLDS. Thanks to three walks, the Nationals were able to load the bases in the fourth. Still, they never seemed capable of touching Buehler in his first career postseason victory.
Buehler also was tagged to start the winner-take-all Game 5 vs. Washington. Buehler allowed just one run over 6 2/3 frames with seven strikeouts in that one and was in line for the win. Unfortunately for L.A., Kershaw was unable to hold onto the 3-1 lead, and the Nationals shockingly advanced on their way to winning the pennant and the World Series.
In the 2018 postseason, Buehler made four starts and went 0-1 with a 3.80 ERA (10 ER/23.2 IP) and 29 strikeouts against just four walks. In Game 3 of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium, Buehler fired 7.0 scoreless innings and allowed just two hits to the Red Sox but didn’t get a decision.
In the 2019 regular season, Buehler was a first-time All Star. He ranked among the NL’s best in wins (14, T-6th), ERA (3.26, 9th), opponents’ batting average (.223, 9th), WHIP (1.04, 6th), strikeouts per 9.0 innings (10.61, 7th) and home runs allowed per 9.0 innings (7th). He posted the NL’s two top strikeout games of the season, with 16 K’s against Rockies on June 21 and 15 punchouts on Aug. 3 vs. San Diego. He did not walk a batter in either complete game victory.
When Buehler struck out 16 batters on June 21, he became the first Dodger pitcher to do so since Hideo Nomo on April 13, 1996. Buehler also became the first Dodger pitcher ever to strike out 16 batters without a walk in the start against Colorado.
Buehler fluctuated between dominant and hittable in his first full season in the majors after an abbreviated spring training hindered his first month. The 25-year-old posted six double-digit strikeout games — five without issuing a walk — while also not logging more than five innings in eight of his 30 starts. Buehler’s walk percentage (5%) was a career best and ranked in the top 10 among all qualified pitchers.
Buehler’s five games with double-digit strikeouts and no walks were the most in the National League and only second to Justin Verlander (6) and Gerrit Cole (7) in the Major League. His five such games were the most by any MLB pitcher 25 or younger in a season in the live-ball era (since 1920). Buehler joined Pedro Martinez and Doc Gooden as the only MLB pitchers with multiple starts of 15 strikeouts and no walks in the same season. Buehler had success against batters on both sides of the plate, holding left-handed hitters to a .218 average (74-for-339) and righties to a .226 mark (74-for-327).
Buehler was even better after the All-Star break. The budding star saw his strikeout rate soar as the season continued, striking out 11.7 batters per nine innings with a 2.99 ERA the second half of the year. He was nearly unhittable in August, posting a 1.69 ERA with 48 strikeouts and eight walks in 32 innings.