Pedro Moura of The Athletic penned a great column on Walker Buehler recently outlining his path to success and the ins and outs of why he has achieved such success at such a young age.
Walker Buehler has allowed just eight walks since May – and 96 strikeouts. How's he doing it? For one thing, he's designing his own game plans.
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticLA) July 20, 2019
For those who do not have a subscription to The Athletic, here is a breakdown on the contents of the column on the Buehldog.
Keys to Success
When asked why he believes he is having as much success as he has had over the last few months, Buehler had a simple answer:
I just stopped walking people.
This is true. Buehler has made 18 starts this season, excluding Sunday’s against the Miami Marlins, and the breakdown of walks is pretty great. His first nine starts: 5.1 BB%. Elite. His last nine starts: 2.6 BB%. Crazy elite. The walk numbers that Buehler has put together this season have been absolutely ridiculous.
Moreover, Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt adds that a “convicted” Walker is the best Walker.
I’d rather have a convicted throw than the right throw being unconvicted.
Moura highlights a key to the young ace’s success being in game planning, or more that he’s now doing his own game planning.
Buehler last month began to design his own game plans, rather than have Honeycutt present him one before each start. He studies the opposition on his own, then offers his diagnoses in pregame meetings.
Honeycutt said that change has led to Buehler believing more in the pitches he is throwing. The catcher still calls them, sure, but they are based on Buehler’s pregame processes.
Buehler also discussed what typically indicates a bad start versus a good start at the outset of a start:
When I’m good, it’s because of first-pitch strikes. And when I’m bad, it’s because of first-pitch strikes.
First-pitch strikes are any pitcher’s key to success. Buehler just seems to always get it done.
One thing that is Buehler’s signature is his confidence at his young age. He exudes it on the mound and shows the poise of veterans.
For right now, it probably is. Eight years from now, my stuff might not be the same. But with my stuff, when I’m ahead in counts, I don’t have to walk guys that often.
Buehler remains one of the best members of the Dodgers’ rotation and looks to be the ace of the future. He has a 2.64 DRA this season with 120 strikeouts and just 17 walks through 110 innings.