Each day, we will be providing a review, or reviews, of each of the 2014 Phillies. We will begin with the starting rotation, head to the starting line-up, move through to the bullpen, and then the bench.
The 2014 Phillies used 26 pitchers, one shy of 2013’s total. Some were players who won their spots in Spring Training like Mario Hollands while others were veteran stopgaps like Shawn Camp and Jeff Manship. Other names like Hector Neris, were total surprises. David Buchanan was somewhere in between Hollands and Neris in terms of expectations.
It was never a forgone conclusion that Buchanan, 25, would make the Phillies out of Spring Training, or make the team at all, but a strong Spring raised expectations for the Fayetteville, GA native. Buchanan would reach the Majors on May 24 after Cliff Lee was sent to the disabled list, joining rotation mate Jonathan Pettibone.
Buchanan earned his promotion by posting a 3.95 ERA with a 6-2 record at Triple-A Lehigh Valley with a 1.544 WHIP. Buchanan’s numbers would actually improve after his promotion, finishing with a 6-8 record with a 3.75 ERA and 1.292 WHIP in 117.2 IP. Buchanan tied Roberto Hernandez for the fourth-most starts among 2014 Phillies while finishing tied for second among NL rookies in innings pitched and third in starts.
Buchanan was a semi-reliable innings eater for the Phils, going six innings or more in 13 of 20 starts while ranking 12th out of 39 NL rookie pitchers in BB/9 IP but ranked just 32nd out of 39 qualified NL rookie pitchers in K/9 IP. For those that keep an eye on advanced stats, Buchanan accumulated 0.6 fWAR which ranked fourth among Phillies’ starters, ahead of Kyle Kendrick. Buchanan lacked a signature game in his rookie campaign, going seven innings just once while never striking out more than six.
Grade: C Buchanan’s 90 MPH fastball was a home run waiting to happen (10.5% HR/FB ratio) while his cutter and change-up played well at the Major League level. Buchanan’s 2014 felt like a typical Kendrick season which should make Kendrick expendable as a free agent. Buchanan was perfectly average in 2014 which, sadly, is more than can be said about a majority of the players on the roster.