For almost a decade now the Dodgers have run the NL West while making it to the World Series three times in the past four years, including this past season where they finally won it all. While their offense has certainly become a lineup you don’t want to face, their pitching staff has also held its lead by the GOAT himself, Clayton Kershaw. Guys like Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Ross Stripling, etc. have all had made an impact at some point as well before moving on.
However, their departure hasn’t weakened the Dodgers one bit. Young guns like Walker Buehler, Julio Urías, and Dustin May have all emerged from the farm with plenty of more arms on the way.
Plenty of Dodgers have already been featured on MLB Network’s Top 10 at each position, but now it’s time for a pair of aces to get recognition. The Shredder ranked the top 10 starting pitchers for the upcoming season with both Clayton and Walker making the list. Kershaw was ranked No. 7 while Buehler just made the list at No. 10.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) January 29, 2021
Despite the decline from his prime years, Kershaw has proven time and again that he’s still one of the games best today. Last offseason he took sought the help of Driveline Baseball, a program that uses data-driven training to better develop players. That help seemed to pay off for the 32-year olds southpaw as he posted a 6-2 record with a 2.16 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 58.1 innings. He also added another 30.2 innings with a 2.93 ERA in the postseason as he finally was able to erase his past demons and win his first World Series.
Clayton Kershaw can't be touched 😳
Postseason career-high 13 K's and the Brewers are still scoreless through 8 👀 pic.twitter.com/uBaVNMVlkj
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 2, 2020
One could point out that playing in a shortened season helped Kershaw more than driveline. That indeed does help, but Kershaw was able to add 1.2 MPH on his fastball which goes a long way in setting up his off-speed pitches. His, dare I say, resurgent season just showed why he is one of the best in the game not just heading into 2021 but of all time.
Speaking of the game’s best pitchers, Walker Buehler has just dominated opposing teams since his arrival in the big leagues. Though he didn’t have the best year by his standards he still managed to post a 1-0 record with a 3.44 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 36.2 innings. However, it’s the postseason where Buehler has truly shined in as he pitched 25 innings while striking out 39 and posting a sparkling 1.80 ERA.
Walker Buehler's stuff is just UNFAIR tonight.
He now has TEN strikeouts in Game 3! pic.twitter.com/cLjrev9bJX
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 24, 2020
Buehler is still young but has shown maturity and poise in the brightest of moments. There’s little doubt that he is the future ace of the Dodgers and it could be argued that he should be LA’s No. 1 right now. However, as Buehler has stated in the past, as long as Kershaw’s around, he’s the No. 2 guy.
It’s certainly great news to see them both crack the rankings, yet it may leave some wondering if either pitcher should have been listed higher. Do you agree with the list? Let us know in the comments!