He’s spent eight years in the minor leagues and has been to Spring Training with the big league club just twice, but relief pitcher Ryan Buchter finally has a legitimate shot at making the Atlanta Braves squad for the first time in his long baseball career.
Originally a draft pick of the Washington Nationals in 2005, Buchter made his way to Atlanta via a trade with the Chicago Cubs in 2011. In 2012, he was elevated from double-A to triple-A and pitched very well in 2013. He’s got a full head of steam entering this camp and should be one to watch.
In 62 innings spanning 51 appearances at triple-A in 2013, he held a 2.76 ERA with 103 strikeouts. He held his opponents to a .132 average and even picked up four wins and five saves. In winter ball in Mexico, he continued his success with 26 strikeouts and a .69 ERA through 13 innings.
The Braves certainly have high hopes for Buchter. Last November, they picked up his contract on the 40-man roster in order to protect him from being stolen in the Rule 5 Draft. Currently in the bullpen, Buchter is one of four left-handers including Luis Avilan, Jonny Venters and Alex Wood. His competition is stiff, but I wouldn’t count him out.
Buchter has paid his dues in the minor leagues and is finally getting his shot at the majors. He’s gotten stronger as his career has gone on and he’s pitching his best right now. When the Braves begin play, keep an eye on this left-hander. He may not have the big league experience of his competition, but he could still find his way into the major league ‘pen.