Buehler has pitched very well, playing a big role in the Dodgers’ NL-best record and staggering plus-114 run differential.
His team’s early success has really helped his candidacy in the NL Cy Young race. Buehler is currently the most bet pitcher on the board. However, we’ve only seen his odds decrease as he opened at +1000 and now sits at +1100.
Let’s take a closer look at Buehler to determine whether he is not only deserving of winning the award, but if there is value on him currently, and look ahead to his market as the season goes along.
Walker Buehler Stats
Going hand in hand with his team’s success, Buehler leads the NL in wins and has gotten a decision in seven of his nine starts. That is important to voters as not only is he leading his team to victories, but he’s consistently going deep enough into games to warrant a decision, which is rare in today’s game.
His ERA of 2.91 is good for 11th in the NL, and if you look deeper, it should be even higher. Buehler has had a very favorable schedule of starts as he has not faced a team with a winning record thus far. Despite that, he has not been as dominant as his numbers show.
Buehler has excellent stuff and has maintained that this season, but his strikeout rate is down seven percent from 2021. That drop means that hitters are putting the ball in play against him more often and the underlying metrics show he’s been very fortunate. His average exit velocity is in the top 15 percent of all qualified pitchers, but his hard-hit rate is just below league average. Pitching to contact, specifically, hard contact is not a recipe for success.
That level of hard contact has his expected ERA at 3.51 and his expected FIP nearly a full run higher at 3.81.
All the signs are pointing towards some regression for Buehler as he faces stiffer competition throughout the season. So he is not a buy candidate at this time for the NL Cy Young.