Before I start talking about the different pitches Buehrle throws, I have to share my amazement at Buehrle's most exceptional quality: his defense. Since 2003, The Fielding Bible's DRS system has been keeping track of MLB pitchers' defensive qualities, which includes both their ability to prevent stolen bases and their fielding prowess. Using Fangraphs, we can see that Buehrle has saved, by far, the most runs of all pitchers in the 2003-2012 period, according to DRS. However, the comparison is not entirely fair, as the next pitcher on the list, Kenny Rogers, has pitched 1153 innings less than Buehrle. Kenny Rogers, another left-handed pitchers with a mid-80s fastball, might well have been even better than Buehrle at defense. Kirk Rueter, same story, but an even smaller sample size (Rueter retired after 2005). Of currently active pitchers, only Zack Greinke and Ricky Romero come close to Buehrle's quality if they keep up their current rate of saving runs through defense. Which is interesting because they don't fit the profile of soft-tossing left-handed pitchers with low strikeout rates, especially Greinke. Still, those two are his only possible peers in the art of pitcher defense.

However, a pitcher gets to show off his fielding abilities only so often, so he still has to pitch well to stay at the highest level. Buehrle, with his career ERA of 3.82, has certainly done that, despite averaging just 86 mph on his fastball. As you can guess, it's not on the strength of his heater that Buehrle has pitched so admirably all those years. Mark Buehrle instead relies on mixing his pitches, which include a four-seamer, sinker, cutter, curveball and changeup. Although hitters are unlikely to get curveballs in hitters counts, Buehrle is a true five-pitch pitcher in almost all situations. Interestingly, until 2012 he used his four-seam fastball 'backwards', which means he used it more in strikeout situations than early in the count, although he still had the sinker to set the hitter up. In terms of pitch location, Buehrle will pitch inside to righties with his cutter and outside with his sinker, using those two the other way around to lefties. The curveball and the four-seamer will be mostly on the outside part of the plate to lefties, and the changeup will be used outside to righties. Righties are more likely to get high heaters or cutters than lefties are.