The Pittsburgh Pirates could have had one of the greatest pitching rotations in the major leagues, as a Los Angeles Dodgers ace could have been theirs.
When you think about the Pittsburgh Pirates, who wonder what could have been. This is a team that had pitchers like Gerrit Cole and Tyler Glasnow at their disposal, yet they couldn’t turn that into any sort of postseason success. As it turns out, they almost had another ace added to their pipeline.
Los Angeles Dodgers ace Walker Buehler was a 14th round MLB draft pick of the Pirates back in 2012. Considering he was a late selection, Buehler was going to go to college at Vanderbilt to refine his game and improve his draft stock. But according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, Pittsburgh made a significant last-minute offer to try and convince Buehler to join their minor league system. As we all know, Buehler stuck to his guns and decided to play ball at Vanderbilt.
Buehler’s decision to go to college paid off
After hearing this, Pirates fans just went to their liquor cabinets and poured out a beverage. Can you imagine if Pittsburgh had the three-headed monster of Cole, Glasnow and Buehler. They’d be perennial contenders in the National League! But, it was all for naught as neither of the three are members of the organization.
Buehler refined his tools with one of the better college baseball programs in the nation and improved his stock to make him a 2015 first-round pick by the Dodgers. In fact, he would have been selected earlier, but he fell down teams’ draft boards due to impending Tommy John surgery. Los Angeles basically sprinted up to the podium to draft Buehler once he was available to them with the 24th overall pick.
On Friday, Buehler gets the chance to earn his first-ever World Series win. He had his first start back in 2018, but scored a no-decision against the Boston Red Sox. In that game, Buehler struck out seven batters and allowed two hits in seven innings of work.
This postseason, Buehler has solidified himself as the ace fo the Dodgers. In four starts, the 26-year-old accumulated a 1.89 ERA and a 3-1 record, while recording 29 strikeouts in 19 innings. Now, he’ll look to give the Dodgers a 2-1 World Series lead over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday in Game 3.
This postseason will serve as nightmare fuel for all Pirates fans, as it’s a glimpse of what could have been for the franchise.