Dodgers’ Walker Buehler, Julio Urias Snubbed For NL Cy Young Award
Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, 2021 National League Wild Card Game workout
Keith Birmingham/Southern California News Group

Walker Buehler and Julio Urias both put up career years for the MLB ERA-leader Los Angeles Dodgers, but neither were among the finalists for the 2021 National League Cy Young Award.

However, Max Scherzer is among those up for consideration, along with Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Philadelphia Phillies’ Zack Wheeler.

Scherzer, who recently won the NL Outstanding Pitcher Award, was acquired by the Dodgers from the Washington Nationals prior to the trade deadline and went on a historic run that put himself back in the Cy Young race.

In 179.1 innings, the future Hall of Famer pitched to a 2.46 ERA and 2.97 FIP while striking out 11.84 hitters per nine and walking 1.81 per nine with a 5.4 WAR.

Burnes may be the favorite to earn the award as he posted a 2.43 ERA and 1.63 FIP in 167 innings while accumulating 7.5 WAR and striking out 12.61 hitters per nine with just 1.83 walks per nine.

Wheeler, who broke out for the Phillies this year, has the edge in innings pitched with 213.1, but trailed Burnes and Scherzer in ERA at 2.78 and strikeouts per nine with 10.42, but trailed only Burnes in FIP (2.59) and WAR (7.3). He was third among the three finalists with 1.94 walks per nine.

While the NL Cy Young Award race was an incredibly tough decision with arguably eight players deserving of votes, Buehler and Urias both had strong cases to place within the finalists.

Buehler finished second in the NL in innings pitched with 207.2 while posting a 2.47 ERA, which is 0.04 behind Burnes and 0.01 behind Scherzer. That came in around 41 more innings than Burnes and almost 30 more than Scherzer.

The only pitcher with more innings, Wheeler, finished with an ERA 0.31 worse than Buehler.

What drags Buehler down is his 3.15 FIP and 5.5 WAR, but those are brought down because Wheeler does not post the strikeout numbers of the pitchers ahead of him. But at the day, the goal of pitching is to get outs and limit runs, and no one did that better than Buehler.

Urias had more of an old-school case, leading the league in wins and being the only pitcher to reach 20. He was still strong in his other categories too, throwing 185.2 innings with a 2.96 ERA and 3.13 FIP. He also struck out an average of nine hitters per game and walked fewer than two per game.

While the win stat has become valued less each season, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts still believes it is an important stat for pitchers.

“It says a lot. I’m still from the school that wins matter,” Roberts said in September. “It’s still the object of the game, so when Julio takes the mound and goes deep enough to get a decision, more importantly, a win, that means something.

“People try to minimize a starting pitcher win-loss; the win matters. Certain guys have the propensity to win the baseball game when they take the mound and some guys find a way to lose games. Julio has done the former, which is great.”

Despite Buehler and Urias both not finishing within the top three of voting, they should be incredibly proud of the seasons they had. This past season presented arguably the deepest Cy Young Award race in history and there is no shame to being two of the pitchers who helped make it that way.

Scherzer can join elite group with Cy Young Award

Scherzer has previously won the Cy Young in 2013 with the Detroit Tigers, and the NL Award with the Nationals in 2016 and 2017. By winning a fourth Cy Young Award, Scherzer would become just the fifth pitcher in MLB history to earn it at least four times.

Furthermore, Scherzer would join Rick Sutcliffe (1984) as the only pitchers to win a Cy Young Award during the same season they were traded.

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