Buchter fully bumped his curveball usage again in 2019, trading more of it for fewer sliders. The pitch features exceptional break at 77.6 mph, and earned a 3.8 pVAL — by far a career best for a secondary pitch — by bumping its zone rate to 34.8% and O-Swing% to 34.6%.
Buchter’s threw his fastball almost exclusively and to great effect in 2016 and 2017 before introducing other pitches, becoming a lefty specialist and losing his effectiveness over the past two seasons. This pitch has sat around 93 mph for four years, and its 11.4% SwStr rate was actually a career high. The main difference in 2019? Batters starting hitting it hard, with a .248 ISO setting a career high by 50 points.
After gaining in usage in 2018, Buchter’s slider dropped in usage and effectiveness in 2019. Averaging 89.7 mph but breaking like a slider, it made improvements in SwStr%, O-Swing%, and contact rate — but gave up two home runs while being thrown just 105 times, tanking most of its value metrics.
Buchter is primarily a four-seam guy, going with the heater for about two-thirds of his offerings. It earned a double-digit pitch value in 2016 and 2017, but regressed greatly last season. A .299 BABIP didn’t help.
Buchter throws the curve slightly more than the cutter, but still well behind the four-seamer. Hitters did next to nothing against the pitch, but it only went for a strike about half the time.
The cutter is Buchter’s third pitch, and he did a much better job getting strikes with it last season. The pitch doesn’t get many whiffs, but it doesn’t get hit hard when its put in play.