We had a chance to speak recently with 2011 BlueClaws RHP David Buchanan, who began the year with Lakewood, started the All-Star Game, and was promoted to Clearwater in July.
Previously: Catching Up With Jesse Biddle.
Buchanan, a 7th round pick in 2010 from Georgia State University, went 11-5, 3.38 with the BlueClaws this year and then finished up 3-2, 3.70 in six starts with Clearwater.
“Overall, I think I had a good year,” Buchanan said. “I learned a lot, had a lot of fun, faced some good hitters and saw a lot of different things I can take into next year.”
He noted that “I had some success, I failed, and I experienced a lot.” Buchanan had a 1.97 ERA through May but had an ERA over seven over his next eight starts. It was a start in Greenville on July 14th where he felt his season turned around.
“I was going through a tough stretch. I’d get to the 2nd inning, give up a few hits and someone squares one up, and suddenly it’s a four-run inning. For some reason that 2nd inning was killing my whole start. That game, I calmed myself down, got a big ground ball and got out of the inning.”
Buchanan, who grew up in Peachtree City, GA, outside Atlanta, had 15 friends and family members at that start (about three hours from home), just as he did in Charleston, SC on May 7th, when he became the first BlueClaws pitcher in four years (Carlos Monasterios) to throw a nine inning complete game.
A week later, he faced Greenville again, allowing one run over seven strong innings to earn the win (Brad Ligde pitched a scoreless 8th and Ryan Duke the 9th). Buchanan came back with eight shutout innings on July 25th in what would be his final start as a BlueClaw. Two weeks after his turning point start in Greenville, he was a Thresher.
“I was ecstatic. I was looking forward to that all year,” he said. “I got caught up a bit in that and had a few bad outings but I let it all go and said whatever happens, happens and started to pitch my game again. It’s only the first step of many but I was ecstatic to go up there.”
On the transition, he said that “I wasn’t nervous because I knew that wouldn’t help me but the biggest thing was to go there and be confident. I still need to realize that me being the pitcher, I had the advantage.”
Asked what he took most out of his season, he said “You have to remember that no matter what level you’re at, you can still get hitters out. A lot of times we get caught up pitching to the hitter’s name or their place in the order. When big leaguers came down to rehab, you expect them to go 4-4 with 4 home runs, but anybody can get anybody out. No matter who you’re facing, stay within yourself and pitch to your strengths.”
This has been an exciting few days for Buchanan, as his new favorite team, the Phillies (obviously) are now a win away from a spot in the NLCS. It’s been a little tougher on some family members, Georgia natives, after the way their hometown Braves saw their season end last week.
David went to all three games in Atlanta last week between the Braves and the Phillies with his sister Sarah and her boyfriend James. David says he was wearing red, but admitted that “Two years ago, I would have been rooting for the Braves.”