Without question, Walker Buehler is following up his phenomenal rookie campaign with a steady sophomore season for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Furthermore, Buehler has started to show flashes of brilliance and flat-out dominance in a few recent starts.
Because of this, Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated is profiling Buehler as a budding superstar arm. While it seems like common knowledge that this path awaits Buehler, the quotes within this story make it ‘must-read’ material.
Tom Verducci on Walker Buehler. A must-read: https://t.co/jjyeN8EG7D
— Joe Davis (@Joe_Davis) August 13, 2019
First – Buehler says he is just now starting to feel in a groove – despite some recent dominant performances.
“I’m just now starting to feel good and get dialed in,” Buehler said last month. “One of the biggest keys I pay attention to is throwing first-pitch strikes. When you do that, you control the count and you pitch deep into games. That’s what I want to do every time.”
Obviously, it’s going to be tough to be dominant every time out. However, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman says what fuels Buehler is to back up his confident and cocksure talk he relishes in.
“He has a burning desire to be great,” says Dodgers president Andrew Friedman, “in large part to back up the amount of trash he talks.”
As you read on about Buehler, the more you start to grin. The reason you start to grin is because he is as authentic as he is good at his craft. Therefore, let’s take an anecdote told by David Freese about the first time he encountered Buehler.
“I was here two days and he called me a piece of [trash],” veteran first baseman David Freese said. “I was like, ‘Whoa.’ But he can pull it off because he’s so likable and because he can back it up. Everybody loves him here. He’s just a good dude with an amazing arm. He’s going to win a Cy Young or four.”
No doubt, Buehler is the type of guy you want in your foxhole as a long season wears onward.
Pre-Draft Knocks On Buehler
Verducci goes on to talk about the considerable amount of doubt placed on Buehler prior to the 2012 MLB draft. Thus, this caused him to attend Vanderbilt University rather than become a minor leaguer from the jump.
Buehler said that this process was a key to his development.
“I just don’t think I would be the guy who lifts the way I do now, and I don’t think I ever would have thrown with the velocity I do now if I had not learned how to be pushed and lift and really work. I wasn’t a big worker in high school. But [at Vanderbilt] there’s not too many people who don’t work.”