Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 7/17/12

Mark Buehrle is the definition of a crafty lefty. His career high strikeout percentage is 16.2% and he has struck out more than six batters per nine innings just one time in his career. Despite his lacking strikeout skills, Buehrle has still been able to maintain an 84 ERA- and net a nice four-year $58 million contract with the Marlins this past offseason. In his first stint in the National League, Buerhle is posting the best strikeout-to-walk ratio of his career. Here is how he is doing it.

Buehrle has historically been a change of speeds guy, as he has averaged roughly 50% four or two-seam fastballs in the PITCHf/x era. He has complimented his fastball with a heavily relied upon change up and the occasional curveball and cutter. The plethora of pitches that he can command has allowed Buehrle to succeed with significantly below average velocity for years. This year, Buehrle and the Marlins staff have decided to up the reliance on his change up even more and also increase the usage of his cutter.

He has combined to throw the two pitches in 49.5% of his offerings, with his two fastballs both being used with less frequency than in pat years. The increased usage of the change up, specifically becomes even more magnified with two strikes.

Changeup:
0-2: 54.4% frequency, 5.6% whiff
1-2: 33.7% frequency, 10.9% whiff
2-2: 46.2% frequency, 11.7% whiff
3-2: 55.6% frequency, 20.0% whiff

Cutter:
0-2: 10.7% frequency, 9.1% whiff
1-2: 20.2% frequency, 12.1% whiff
2-2: 16.9% frequency, 4.5% whiff
3-2: 16.0% frequency, 23.1% whiff

With the new approach, Buehrle is netting a 4.06 strikeout-to-walk ratio, the first time he has been above three since 2005. His walk rate, which has been one of the biggest factors for his success throughout his career, is now at a career low 3.7% with 1.34 walks per nine innings pitched.

Of course, some of this success is due to the transition to the National League, a better home park. and the fact that offense is generally down the past few years compared to what was the norm during Buehrle’s career. Even so, the noted alteration to his repertoire has Buehrle pitching about as well as he ever has in his career, which is very impressive given his age and his history of quality performance.

In looking at his change up usage last season, there is clearly more confidence in the pitch in two strike counts. It appears that Buehrle is going for the strikeout more than he did last year.

Changeup:
0-2: 18.7% frequency, 11.1% whiff
1-2: 25.9% frequency, 15.7% whiff
2-2: 31.0% frequency, 6.1% whiff
3-2: 45.6% frequency, 20.9% whiff

In every two strike count, Buehrle is attacking with his change up more frequently. While the whiff rates are somewhat comparable but still generally up this year, the rate with which the pitch is being thrown on two strikes has been a big difference in his performance so far this year.

This new version of Buehrle is a big positive for the Marlins, who have received lackluster performances from their two other big free agent acquisitions, Jose Reyes and Heath Bell. While the season has not gone as planned, a big year from Buehrle due to an altered approach is good news for the Marlins’ future.


MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Is Madison Bumgarner a bully?
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Marlins’ Dee Gordon emotional after lead-off HR

Patrice Bergeron’s worries go away with Brad Marchand’s contract signed

Report: Gabbert in danger of losing starting job to Kaepernick

John Fox won't commit to Cutler as starter when healthy

Report: Austin Sefarian-Jenkins claimed by Jets off waivers

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dez Bryant to undergo MRI after suffering knee injury

Report: Adrian Peterson determined to play again in 2016

Report: McDaniels plans to leave Pats, pursue head-coaching job

Report: Cam Newton feels good, ankle not a problem

Palmer's death brings heartfelt statements from Woods, Obama

Paul Pierce announces he will retire after upcoming season

Kevin Garnett's unique career proves anything is possible

Jose Fernandez joins tragic list of premature departures

15 greatest calls of Vin Scully's career

Week 4 in college football as explained by Queen

The good, bad, and ugly from Week 3 in the NFL season

Chris Bosh deserved more than our jokes and underappreciation

LeBron supports Kaepernick but will stand for national anthem

Ben McAdoo: Odell Beckham needs to control his emotions more

Saban rips LSU for firing Miles in middle of season

Box Score: 9/26 - Ratings, Cosell, kitties and stadium names

Ten biggest winners and losers from NFL Week 3

WATCH: What are the best WR-CB rivalries of all-time?

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Kevin Garnett's unique NBA career proves anything is possible

Jose Fernandez joins tragic list of premature departures

Week 4 in college football as explained by Queen

The good, bad, and ugly from Week 3 in the NFL season

Where does Landon Donovan's return rank?

WATCH: What are the best WR-CB rivalries of all-time?

Bill Belichick may be forced to get hilariously creative to fill his quarterback slot

Five sports stadiums that should be renamed

WNBA playoffs head into second round after single eliminations

CFB Crash Course: Week 4 - No ranking is safe

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker