The San Diego Padres are in search of dominant relief pitching. This season, they may find it in the form of Ryan Buchter, an extremely unique southpaw.
For the San Diego Padres the past few seasons, dominant pitchers have been a rare commodity. As the team looks towards another season of baseball, nothing on the surface appears to be any different.
There really isn’t a big name in the rotation or in the bullpen that can get the fans excited about the staff. In fact, there is even uncertainty as to how many of their starters will be returning. This is why it is essential for others to step up and surprise this coming year.
Ryan Buchter is one reliever who can break out in 2017. Though having limited experience in the major leagues, Buchter was one of San Diego’s mainstays in the bullpen last season. In 2016, his first season with the Padres, the 29-year-old made 67 appearances, logging 63 innings. He finished with an ERA of 2.86 while striking out 78.
Though he may not stand out as a dominant reliever just yet, Buchter possesses striking similarities to dominant Cleveland Indians super-reliever Andrew Miller. As a six-foot-four left-hander with a high strikeout rate, the young Padre has the same sort of physical characteristics as well as mechanics, throwing a lot of off speed pitches.
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Of course, he hasn’t burst onto the scene as Miller has. But even this can be encouraging, as Miller struggled as a starter in Boston until he acquired his lethal slider. Buchter has had the same sort of career, struggling to find consistency until last season.
Even now, the tall southpaw has gone under the radar. Not many even see Buchter as one of San Diego’s core relievers entering 2017. But as left-handed super-relievers become trendy, the Padres have the potential to keep up with the rest of the league. Buchter provides them with this potential as he can come in at any point in the game for anywhere from a single batter to several innings.
Buchter completed ten games last season, recording one save. He also came in to replace struggling starters early on, revealing just how versatile the lefty can be. Now, coming off of an extremely productive year, the Padres hope that Buchter can continue to go under the radar and provide for them exactly what they need; a star relief pitcher.