Happy Birthday, Walker Buehler!

Walker Buehler Topps 2018 RC

Buehler’s Topps Rookie Card (2018) taken from my collection…

Walker Buehler, now (2019) in his third season in the major leagues, is a hard throwing right handed pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Born 28 July 1994 to Tony and Karen Buehler in Lexington, KY, Walker (named after his mother’s maiden name) moved to the mound because the scrawny kid couldn’t hit for any power.  His grandfather, Dave Walker, taught him to pitch much like Justin Verlander, and he was effective with that delivery – over the years adding five more pitches to complement his fastball.  Eventually he gained size and strength and looked to be a possible first round pick out of Henry Clay High School, but fell to the 12th round.  He chose, instead, to head to Vanderbilt where he developed a strength training regimen that allowed him to build to a 98 MPH fastball.  He struggled his junior year, though, which allowed him to fall to the Dodgers in the 2015 draft.  The struggle turned out to be an elbow injury, which required Tommy John surgery after the draft.

Buehler needed a year to recover, but by the end of the 2017 season he was in the majors and in 2018 became a regular member of the rotation and arguably as good as anyone in that rotation (including a late-prime Clayton Kershaw, who remains as valuable a pitcher as ever, though he misses a few starts each year to various injuries).

Sources:

Verducci, Tom. “Buehler? Buehler?”, Sports Illustrated, 12 August 2019, Pages 30 to 38.

(Really?  That’s the best headline you guys could come up with?  No originality.)

Baseball-Reference.com

 

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