Clay Buchholz
Clay Buchholz
35-Year-Old PitcherSP
Toronto Blue Jays
60-Day IL
Injury Shoulder
Est. Return 9/1/2019
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Working his way back from April 2017 elbow surgery, Buchholz opened the year with Kansas City’s Double-A affiliate. While he allowed just two runs across 16 innings (three starts) between Double-A and Triple-A, the Royals opted to part ways with the veteran rather than add him to their roster before his May 1 opt-out date. Buchholz quickly latched on with Arizona and never looked back, finishing with a 2.01 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 81:22 K:BB in 16 starts (98.1 innings). Injuries troubled Buchholz again, however, as he missed time with an oblique issue before being shut down in mid-September with an elbow injury. He avoided surgery and should enter spring training healthy, though it would be unwise to expect a full season from the injury-prone 34-year-old in 2019. On top of that, he’s a low-strikeout pitcher who is a candidate for regression after benefiting from a .255 BABIP and 86.6% strand rate in 2018. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Blue Jays in February of 2019. Contract includes $2.75 million in incentives.
Makes second rehab start
PToronto Blue Jays
August 14, 2019
Buchholz (shoulder) gave up a run and struck out four over three innings Tuesday in his second rehab start for the Blue Jays' rookie-level Gulf Coast League affiliate.
Buchholz proved to be no match for the lower-level competition, surrendering just one hit -- a home run -- in the outing. Assuming he came out of the start with no setbacks to his right shoulder, Buchholz could move up to a full-season affiliate for his next outing. The 35-year-old looks on track to rejoin the Toronto rotation when rosters expand in September.
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .254 276 49 19 64 12 0 9
Since 2017vs Right .259 265 49 12 64 20 1 6
2019vs Left .370 60 9 5 20 4 0 4
2019vs Right .255 48 3 1 12 4 0 1
2018vs Left .191 194 39 12 34 5 0 5
2018vs Right .249 199 42 10 46 14 1 4
2017vs Left .500 22 1 2 10 3 0 0
2017vs Right .400 18 4 1 6 2 0 1
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
Since 2017Home 3.83 1.28 49.1 3 2 0 7.5 1.8 0.9
Since 2017Away 3.22 1.19 81.0 4 3 0 6.3 2.3 1.1
2019Home 4.09 1.09 11.0 0 1 0 3.3 0.0 0.8
2019Away 8.56 1.90 13.2 0 1 0 5.3 4.0 2.6
2018Home 2.50 1.17 36.0 3 0 0 8.8 2.3 0.8
2018Away 1.73 0.96 62.1 4 2 0 6.6 1.9 0.9
2017Home 23.14 3.86 2.1 0 1 0 7.7 3.9 3.9
2017Away 7.20 2.00 5.0 0 0 0 5.4 3.6 0.0
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Stat Review
How does Clay Buchholz compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity, Barrels/BBE %, Balls Hit 95+ MPH %, and Spin Rate are benchmarked against this season's data (min 70 IP). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • K/BB
    Strikeout to walk ratio.
  • K/9
    Average strikeouts per nine innings.
  • BB/9
    Average walks per nine innings.
  • HR/9
    Average home runs allowed per nine innings.
  • Fastball
    Average fastball velocity.
  • ERA
    Earned run average. The average earned runs allowed per nine innings.
  • WHIP
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched.
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
  • GB/FB
    Groundball to flyball ratio. The higher the number, the more likely a pitcher is to induce groundballs.
  • Left On Base
    The percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Barrels/BBE
    The percentage of batted ball events resulting in a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Spin Rate
    Spin Rate is the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Balls Hit 95+ MPH
    The percentage of batted balls hit that met or exceeded the 95 MPH threshold.
  • Swinging Strike
    The percentage of pitches that result in a swing and a miss.
88.4 mph
Left On Base
Exit Velocity
87.3 mph
Spin Rate
2068 rpm
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
Swinging Strike
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Defensive Stats
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
The Phillies acquired Buchholz last season, seemingly in hopes of rehabilitating his trade value and flipping him for a young asset at the deadline. That plan was a complete failure, as Buchholz went down with an injury in his second start of the year and missed the rest of the season. He underwent surgery in April to repair a torn flexor tendon in his forearm. If a team takes a chance on Buchholz this offseason, they will hope he can return to some semblance of his 2015 form. He put up a 3.29 ERA in 2015 supported by above-average strikeout, walk and groundball rates. It's unclear if that version of Buchholz, now 33 with a long injury history, still exists. The chances of a long, successful campaign are low. The reward is also low even if he does stay healthy.
At one point last season, the thought of Boston picking up Buchholz's option for 2017 was pure folly. At the end of May, the right-hander had a 6.35 ERA through 10 starts, earning a demotion to the bullpen. During one July stretch, he had gone 19 days between appearances. The maddeningly inconsistent Buchholz seemed to have pitched his way out of Boston, but an injury to Steven Wright necessitated a return to the rotation for Buchholz. And he finished in style, posting a 3.31 ERA while striking out 25 in 32.2 innings over his final six starts. The turnaround came about after Buchholz started pitching exclusively out of the stretch. The newfound success changed the calculus regarding the team's $13 million option, but the Red Sox ultimately traded Buchholz to Philadelphia after adding Chris Sale. His fantasy outlook improves with the move, as he will head to the NL while becoming the Phillies' clear fifth starter.
Buchholz entered 2015 as Boston's No. 1 starter, but that was a title by dint of his age and longevity with the organization. None of Boston's starting staff that began the season had a track record as a staff anchor. Buchholz had never thrown more than 189.1 innings in any season — and that was in 2012. In the three years since, he's thrown 108.1, 170.1 and 113.1 innings, respectively. That ought to sum up the right-hander; he gets injured a lot, and those injuries can take a frustratingly long time to heal. In 2015, he was effectively shut down in July due to an elbow injury. Like other seasons, Buchholz teased us with stretches where he was unhittable — he had a four-game winning streak (three earned runs in 31 IP) just before the elbow injury cut short his season. The Red Sox picked up his option for 2016 and he will be part of the rotation, but lower in the order following the addition of David Price.
Buchholz had another troubling season in 2014. It started with concerns about reduced velocity, he had bouts where he didn't have a feel for his changeup, and he never managed to pitch well for long stretches -- his 4.36 ERA in August was his best month. He underwent successful meniscus surgery following the season and he'll be ready to go for spring training, but the role he'll be ready for remains a mystery. After Boston shed its top starters in 2014, Buchholz emerged as an unlikely No. 1 starter. The Red Sox will not go into the season counting on Buchholz to take the ball every five days for a consistently competitive outing. September's starting rotation will bear little resemblance to the one that begins the 2015 season. Buchholz will be part of it, but he's best suited for the back end at this point.
Buchholz had three distinct phases to his 2013 season. Between April and June, he won nine games and led the league in ERA; in mid-June, he sustained a neck/shoulder injury that lingered well beyond his expected recovery period; and finally, a four-game September ramp-up for the playoffs. His postseason work was pretty sketchy, as Buchholz was unable to get out of the sixth inning in two starts against the Tigers in the ALCS. When he's healthy and feeling right, he has the stuff to be Boston's best pitcher, and he'll open the season as one of the team's top three starters.
Buchholz threw a career-high 189.1 innings in 2012 after a season that was cut short by a back injury. His rebound season started and ended poorly, but in the middle, Buchholz was Boston's most reliable starter. With John Farrell returning to Boston as the manager, there is a sense that Buchholz, whose career took off with Farrell as the pitching coach, will continue to develop as a starter. While there is some success we can point to, Buchholz has pretty average K/9 and BB/9 rates and his home-run rate (1.2 HR/9) jumped sharply up from his breakout 2010 season (0.5 HR/9). He will enter 2013 as the No. 2 starter behind Jon Lester.
Buchholz suffered a back injury in June and was never able to return to pitch in 2011, finishing with just 82.2 innings over 14 starts. He was pitching well when the back injury cropped up, signaling his stellar 2010 season wasn't a fluke, though there are some warning signs within his numbers. His strikeout and walk rates were pretty average for the second straight season, while maintaining a low BABIP. He's not dominant and we may see some regression as the luck swings the other way, but he's still young and learning how to work through major-league lineups. The 27-year-old righty will remain one of Boston's top three starters and benefits from a strong lineup behind him.
Buchholz emerged as a top starter in 2010 after a couple of stumbles to begin his career. He didn't have problems with runners on base like he had in 2009, holding opponents to a .202 average with runners on (.161 with RISP) last season. He also increased his velocity (to an outstanding 94.1 mph) while maintaining a solid ground-ball rate (50.3 percent of balls in play). But there are some worries as he didn't have a great strikeout rate (6.22 K/9IP) or walk rate (3.47 BB/9IP) and a low .265 BABIP. He may see some regression in his ERA as a result. However, at age 26 and with strong run support behind him, he should be one of the top starters in the AL.
Buchholz was a different pitcher at the major league level in 2009, when compared to his disastrous 2008 experience in Boston. He dominated the International League for Triple-A Pawtucket from April to July -- so much so that he went public with his frustration over not getting a callup to Boston, which was rolling with veterans Brad Penny and John Smoltz at the time of his comments. Buchholz finally got his chance in July when Boston called him up after Smoltz imploded. At Pawtucket, Buchholz established the confidence needed to throw all of his pitches and that carried over to the major leagues. There were a couple of rough outings here and there, but he had very impressive stretches, including a six-game span in which he went 5-0 with six runs allowed in 40 innings. At this stage, he'll be in the mix to be the team's No. 4 starter, but he could be moved as Boston is looking to acquire another bat (Adrian Gonzalez).
Buchholz regressed badly in 2008, beginning the season in Boston's starting rotation before hitting the disabled list and going down to Triple-A Pawtucket. The Red Sox have been tinkering with his mechanics, in specific his arm angle, and getting him to have more confidence in his fastball. His return to Boston after the All-Star break ended the same way as his stint at the start of season, only he was demoted to Double-A. He performed better in the Arizona Fall League, but is still struggling with command. If Boston doesn't end up trading him, he'll compete for the fifth spot in the starting rotation this spring.
Buchholz was overpowering at every level right up to his no-hitter against Baltimore in early September. He's got a mid-90's fastball with good command and has the secondary pitches to be a dominant starter in the majors. The Red Sox have been unwilling to give him up in deals, and he'll be in their rotation at some point during the season, if not in April.
Buchholz was named the Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2006 for his work in Single-A at Greenville and Wilmington. In 119 innings (24 starts), he allowed 36 runs while striking out 140 and walking 33. He's a cool customer on the mound, pitching well in pressure situations. He throws a four-seam and a two-seam fastball, a slider, curve and a circle change. He's probably ready to make the jump to Double-A Portland, but the club may wait until the warmer weather hits Maine before assigning him there. Buchholz is expected to hit the majors in late 2008.
More Fantasy News
Begins rehab assignment
PToronto Blue Jays
August 9, 2019
Buchholz (shoulder) thew two innings in the Gulf Coast League on Friday and will throw again Tuesday, Alexis Brudnicki of reports.
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Throws bullpen session
PToronto Blue Jays
July 23, 2019
Buchholz (shoulder) threw a bullpen session last week, Alexis Brudnicki of reports.
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Ready for long toss
PToronto Blue Jays
June 29, 2019
Buchholz (shoulder) will begin long tossing soon, Alexis Brudnicki of reports.
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Shifts to 60-day injured list
PToronto Blue Jays
June 12, 2019
Buchholz (shoulder) was transferred to the 60-day injured list Wednesday.
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MRI reveals Grade 2 strain
PToronto Blue Jays
May 18, 2019
Buchholz received an MRI on his inflamed right shoulder Saturday which revealed a Grade 2 teres major strain, Gregor Chisholm of reports.
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