Pitcher List on Rotographs: Clay Buchholz’s Career Saving Cutter

Nick Pollack dives into the incredible recent success of Clay Buccholz's cutter.

(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)

I’m writing about starting pitching for Rotographs and didn’t want the Pitcher List community to miss out on one of our signature GIF Breakdowns.

Did you expect any sort of spotlight on Clay Buchholz this season? I certainly didn’t think he would be worth anyone’s time, with his last healthy season producing a 4.78 ERA and 1.33 WHIP, watching his strikeout rate dive to an abysmal 16% mark and hinting at a 10% walk rate. But here we are, four starts into his 2018 season and Buchholz is getting our attention. Seriously, he’s been quite remarkable thus far (I’m ignoring 2017 stats wise as his poor health reduced his season to just two starts in 7.1 innings):

Clay Buchholz 2016 vs. 2018
2016 139.1 4.78 1.33 15.8% 9.4%
2018 24.0 1.88 0.83 22.8% 3.3%

I was like many of you at first, waving this away with a slight scoff, quickly quoting small sample size and the inconsistent nature of Buchholz, and suggesting that nothing has changed. Maybe even adding a quick “this is the same old Buchholz” quip.

But it isn’t. This could be nothing, yet another byproduct of a minuscule 24 frames, but there’s a chance that it sticks across the weeks and months of the year.

That thing is Clay Buchholz’s cutter.

Read the rest of this article on RotoGraphs.

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

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