Kalamazoo, Mich. — It’s hard to mistake Josh Buchalski for any other pitcher. The 5-foot-10 lefthander begins his delivery hunched over, with his rear end pointing prominently toward third base, and stays low to the ground throughout, slinging the baseball from a submarine slot. His results make him even harder to miss: Buchalski has a 3.66 ERA out of the bullpen and has 25 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings pitched, as of June 25.
On how he came up with his unique windup…
Halfway through my freshman year of college (at Michigan State), I was just normal over-the-top. But I was struggling, and I would mess around playing catch sidearm, and my coach told me to give it a try. I started doing a lot better than I was normal, so then I just kind of stuck with it and practiced, and decided to stay with it…I threw maybe just a tiny bit harder over-the-top, but not much. I was still, like, a crafty lefty, a lot of offspeed stuff…My velocity was going down, and I was just kind of struggling. I wasn’t throwing hard, I wasn’t hitting my spots very well. The hitter would be all over me, so I just decided I was going to do something dramatic to try to get a lot better, I guess.
On convincing his coaches and experimenting with the new delivery…
They (the coaches) were encouraging me to do it, because they thought if I could figure it out, I could be a lot better. I was getting redshirted my freshman year anyway, so it’s like ‘Hey, go right ahead.’ The first time I tried it, I was like full submarine, in the batting cage in the winter. And I couldn’t throw a strike to save my life. It was pretty bad…Every day at practice, I would just work on how to make it easier: easier to throw a throw a strike, easier to throw a breaking ball. So every single day was like an experiment, and then I would just keep practicing over and over and over.
On the large amount of swings and misses he has generated this season
I think it’s both (the movement on his pitches and the deception from his delivery). I’m working every day with the pitching coaches, coach Smith and coach Ott, here in Kalamazoo. I work every day on making my arm angle more deceptive, and throwing sidearm, my ball move a lot too. So it’s a combination of both, I think.