Walker Beuhler (P - LA Dodgers), Relief or Starting Pitcher?

Dodgers top pitching prospect Walker Beuhler shined in his first start against the Marlins, giving up only four hits in five scoreless innings. His average pitching velocity was off the charts giving us the impression that he is completely healthy coming off Tommy John surgery in 2015. His back tightness earlier this year tells another story. In 2017, the Dodgers tried to bring Beuhler out of the bullpen with less enthusiastic results with an ERA of 7.71 in eight appearances. They tried to limit his wear and tear which would seem sensible after undergoing surgery. Having Tommy John surgery means faulty mechanics leading to excessive elbow strain and tear of the ligament. Beuhler made it clear that he wants to be a starting pitcher in the league and the Dodgers gave him his chance. Will his body last or will he need to return to a relief role to preserve the shelf life of his arm. 


1) lower abdominal weakness with forward pelvic sway

2) excessive calf tightness with hyper knee hyper extension

3) mild right hip instability with excessive use of upper trapezius to help stabilize

4) Limited hip flexibility with translation into the pelvis

Tale of the Tape:

Although it looks like Beuhler cleaned up some of his mechanics since his days at Vanderbilt, he continues to exhibit pitching faults including limiting his stride with early rotation instead of abducting his hip longer in the drive phase. When he lifts his left leg, limited hip mobility is detected with compensatory translation to the pelvis which leads to excessive hamstring and paraspinal (and possible strain) use for stability of his right leg and less Glut stability of the pelvis and hips. Unless he wants to be relegated back to the bullpen, continued adjustments need to be made. 


The Injury Analyst is a blog dedicated to not only explaining injuries that have occurred, but predicting and highlighting future injury risks for professional athletes. You can email us at info@jamsportsandspine.com

Note: I have not seen the subject of this article personally in clinic, rather all views and opinions of the author have been made based off of video footage of the athlete. This article is not meant as a diagnosis or a treatment plan.