Name: David Buchanan
DOB: 5/11/89 (22 as of April 1, 2012)
Weight: 190 lbs
Drafted: 7th round, 2010 ($125,000 bonus)
Pre Draft Report: David Buchanan was first drafted in the 6th round of the 2009 draft by the Mets out of Chipola (FL) JC. Heading into that draft, Baseball America rated Buchanan as the 40th best prospect in Florida. At the time, BA noted that he threw his fastball 90-94, hitting 96, with a curveball that was a second plus-pitch when it was on. It also noted a lack of control and that he tended to pitch for scouts and the radar gun in lieu of trying to just get guys out.
Rather than sign with the Mets, Buchanan opted to attend Georgia State. In his only season there, Buchanan struck out 53 and walked 25 in 55.1 innings, allowing 62 hits and a .287 opponents batting average. The second half of his season was derailed by a ligament injury in his middle finger. As he headed into the 2010 draft, BA rated him the 21st best prospect in Georgia and noted he was still throwing hard (topping out at 95) with a funky delivery that caused deception. He also was throwing a decent slider. On the downside, his funky delivery was hard to repeat, his control was still suspect, and he tended to lose focus at times.
Buchanan was signed at the end of June and began his career in Williamsport.
Career Synopsis: Buchanan made 13 starts for Williamsport, pitching 62 innings. His rates were not particularly impressive at a mere 4.4 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 1.30 K/BB, 8.9 H/9, and 0.1 HR/9. His 4.21 ERA actually stands out given these rates although he did throw almost twice as many groundballs as fly balls. Following the season, Buchanan participated in the Florida Instructional League.
Buchanan started 2011 in Lakewood’s rotation, and made twenty decent starts, pitching to a 3.38 ERA and starting the SAL All-Star Game and being named the league’s player of the month for May. His strikeout and walk rates were very pedestrian, but he managed 1.18 WHIP thanks to a good hit rate of 8.3/9, and he also kept the ball in the park at 0.4 HR/9. He was promoted to Clearwater for the final month of the season and he posted numbers generally in line with what he did in Lakewood, although his walk and hit rates did tick northward.
Scouting Report: Below is an assessment of Buchanan’s raw tools, rated on the traditional 20-80 scouting scale. The grades are my estimation based on what I’ve read and those I’ve talked to. The second number is a future projection, the first number is the current assessment
Summary: Buchanan is a bit of a wildcard, as he was hurt leading up to the draft, allowing him to slip a bit to the Phillies. At this best, he was 91-94, touching 96. If he can sustain a fastball in the 92-94 range, that rates as plus. His command and control both improved prior to the draft, but still are probably below average right now. If he gets himself right, he figures to have average command and control. His power curveball rates as an above average pitch, while his changeup is still below MLB average.
Upside: Buchanan has a big arm and apparently has a decent second pitch that has alternately been called a curve or a slider. His K rate has been baffling as a college pitcher in the low minors with a big arm should be striking out more batters. Not sure there’s too much to get excited about here, but given the Phillies’ recent success in turning college pitchers into decent relief prospects, improved control and his above average two-pitch repertoire might allow him to turn into a power bullpen arm. He’ll be in Clearwater in 2011 in a year that figures to determine whether there’s a glimmer of major league hope or whether he becomes organizational filler.
Profile Updated: 3 January 2012