After getting thoroughly walloped in Triple-A Portland at age 25 last year (3-10, 6.18 ERA, 4.82 K/9, 5.08 FIP), Matt Buschmann was thought of as a non-prospect after being considered a potential back-of-the-rotation innings-eater earlier in his career.
Buschmann had to return to Double-A in a swing role to open the year, at age 26, emphasizing how far his stock had fallen.
The righty ditched his long-ineffective changeup in favor of a new splitter that he had much more confidence in, finally giving him something to keep lefties at bay; neither his sinker or slider were well-equipped to handle opposite-side batters, so the splitter was a key addition.
The results showed immediately, as Buschmann struck out 26 batters in 20 1/3 innings while walking only seven, allowing two homers, and posting a 2.66 ERA.
The Padres responded by moving the Vanderbilt alum back to Triple-A, the level that had crushed him the year before.
Buschmann allowed a home run in a two-inning relief appearance, his first Triple-A game of the season, but otherwise was brilliant, striking out three of the seven batters he faced and allowing nobody else to reach base.
It could be that the new splitter will allow Buschmann to at least have a career in middle relief. The Padres are stocked with potential relievers, however, so he might not be in the right organization. Still, you can’t have “too many good players.” If you leverage their value correctly, you can fill your own needs in return.
In having guys like Buschmann around, the Padres should have more depth to trade from as they look to address needs in the future, like finding someone to replace Adrian Gonzalez’s production. It’s good to see Buschmann excelling and giving the Padres yet another potential MLB roster guy, either for their own team or for use in a trade. Creating value from nothing is always a plus.