David Buchanan has had quite the interesting ride over his short career. He came from seemingly nowhere to post an impressive 2014 rookie campaign. The Phillies’ rewarded his work, and he earned the three-slot in the 2015 Philadelphia Phillies rotation. The start to his 2015 was tough for the righty, but he finished with a final four starts that left no doubt that he still could do it.
He has spent 2016 in Triple-A Lehigh Valley and seems to have found that old magic that led to his breakout 2014.
Last time I spoke to Buchanan was in June of 2014. He had won consecutive games, dueling against two pitchers who were at one point considered top pitching prospects, first defeating Shelby Miller and then going head-to-head with fellow rookie Andrew Heaney. He then made his first start against the Atlanta Braves, the team who’s home turf the Georgia State alum grew up just miles away from. The Phillies’ rookie — who was never one of baseball’s top-100 prospects — was on top of the world.
“All of my life I had dreamed of being a professional player and was told by a ton of people that it probably wouldn’t happen,” Buchanan said on that June 2014 day. “I was officially getting my chance by an amazing team.”
He went 6-8 as a rookie, but posted a nice 3.75 ERA, and while he has never been an overpowering strikeout artist, he showed promise with a 2.45 walks-per-nine rate and a 50.7 percent ground ball percentage, getting out of jams and not allowing many runners to score.
Last season was another story. Buchanan struggled to find his way in the early going, but as previously mentioned, he was able to finish strongly. He was a bit more wild during his sophomore campaign in the bigs, and also allowed more fly balls than ground balls, which led to more home runs. He spent the season up and down between Lehigh Valley and Philly.
But Buchanan refused to be defeated. Instead of laying down, he turned 2015 into a learning experience and has become stronger because of it in 2016.
“I learned a lot about trusting in myself,” Buchanan said. “Not wasting my energy into trying to please other people and realizing that it is very easy to make the game bigger than it is. Keeping things in perspective was key. This year has been spent in Triple-A, which is not what I wanted, but I am happy with the way I am throwing the baseball.”
The Phillies are happy with the way he is throwing the baseball as well. Recently, the International League took notice, as Buchanan was named the IL Pitcher of the Week amid a very impressive hot streak starting a month ago.
“Receiving Pitcher of the Week was a great accomplishment,” Buchanan said. “It rewards the work we have been putting in. Now the goal is to continue to do it and get the award again.”
For more on Buchanan’s recent run, head on over to Today’s Knuckleball for my full interview by clicking on the link below: