With Cliff Lee‘s injury, the Phillies will call up RHP David Buchanan. Buchanan was first drafted by the Mets in the 6th round of the 2009 draft out of Junior College, Buchanan didn’t sign. The Phillies draft Buchanan in the 7th Round of the 2010 draft and signed him for $125,000.
Minor League Career:
Coming into the draft Buchanan showed a fastball that sat 92-93 that could touch 95, and a slider with good movement. Buchanan struggled with his control in college and he lacked a changeup to give him a third pitch.
Buchanan moved through A-ball in his first season, spent all of 2012 in Reading (missing half the season with a finger injury), and split 2013 between Reading and Lehigh Valley. Overall across 5 minor league seasons Buchanan has pitched 502 innings with a 3.98 ERA 2.85 BB/9 and 5.72 K/9.
On the mound Buchanan will bring a fastball that sits 90-93 but will touch 94. He generally keeps the ball down in the zone and can command it around the zone. The slider has been replaced by a curveball that shows some loopiness to it. The changeup sits in the low 80s, for the most part it is a straight change that is a fringy pitch, but occasionally he will show one with good sink and arm side fade.
Buchanan is going to show a fastball heavy approach that he can put in the zone, but he still struggles to paint the corners with it. He will generate a good amount of ground balls with the fastball but he is not going to miss a lot of bats. He has featured more changeups of late in Lehigh Valley as he works to get feel for the pitch, and he is going to need the pitch to keep hitters off the fastball. Right now Buchanan can give the Phillies back of the rotation innings until Cliff Lee gets back. He does struggle with inconsistency and can be prone to long ABs as he lacks a go to out pitch.
It is hard to see Buchanan sticking as a starter with the Phillies going forward. The secondary arsenal needs a lot of refinement before he will be effective a second time through the league. However, given his current stuff Buchanan could fit into a bullpen as a middle reliever or long man. If he continues to gain feel for the good changeup and can use the curveball effectively he could stick in the back of the rotation as a #5 starter with a chance to be a #4 starter if everything breaks right.