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Buchanan's success comes as a bit of a surprise

April 7, 2012 - Mitch Rupert
Former Williamsport Crosscutter right-hander David Buchanan had quite the debut for the Class AA Reading Phillies on Sarturday night, tossing seven innings of shutout baseball. Buchanan allowed just two hits and struck out nine in his first start in Baseballtown.

Buchanan's outing brought about a short discussion I had on Twitter about the former seventh-round draft pick. Essentially the consensus was that when we each saw Buchanan pitch for the Crosscutters in 2010, we never expected the kind of rise he's had through the Phillies' system.

Although he experienced some success with the Crosscutters (3-1, 4.21 ERA), he resembled more the type of players who would be a nice organizational filler, pitching well enough to keep his spot in the system for a couple years without ever seriously making a run at the big club. But Buchanan has only gotten better since he left the friendly confines of Bowman Field.

He was an all-star for Lakewood last year and split his season between the Low-A Blueclaws and the advanced Class A Clearwater Threshers. He was 14-7 with a 3.49 ERA between the two stops a year ago, striking out more than twice the number of batters that he walked (110 strikeouts, 43 walks).

His ascension through the system has been just a step behind that of Austin Hyatt who is now playing for the Class AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs after being drafted and playing for the Crosscutters in 2009. But should he continue to pitch the way he has over the last year, fans are going to have to start looking at Buchanan in the same light as Hyatt is currently viewed. Hyatt was given the chance to start the Phillies' spring training opener against Florida State University, a spot usually given to an up-and-coming pitcher in the Phillies' system each spring.

There's going to be plenty to pick apart in Buchanan's game as to why he won't be able to be a productive pitcher as he moves through the minor league system, but all the arguments should end with the results Buchanan puts up, especially if those results mirror the ones from the last year.

Buchanan was one of my favorite Cutters to talk to during the 2010 season covering the Crosscutters. He's a very humble, very intelligent and just plain fun kid to talk to. His southern roots were evident with the thick drawl in his voice, and it was clear he was one to enjoy his job as a professional baseball player. One of my favorite stories of that season came courtesy of Buchanan and and a Little Leaguer during the annual Cutters Kids Camp in which members of the Cutters team and the coaching staff help hone the skills of local youngsters.

Here's that story as it appeared in the Sun-Gazette the following day:

Williamsport pitcher David Buchanan was helping kids at the Cutters Kids Camp pick up baseballs in the batting cage after a round of hitting when one of them walked up to him with a baseball in hand.

"Look, this one is signed. Who is it signed by?" the boy asked as he handed the ball to Buchanan.

"It looks like George Washington," Buchanan said as he inspected the ball and handed it back.

"Oh," the boy said almost quizzically. "Does he play for (the Crosscutters)?"

"I don't think so," Buchanan said with a chuckle as he patted the boy on the head.


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