The Angels added southpaw Ryan Buchter to the 40-man roster just before Spring Training was suspended. He was quickly optioned to the minor leagues, but the left-handed reliever expects to see time in Joe Maddon‘s bullpen, being one of the few southpaws on the roster who has experience pitching in high-leverage situations.
While a shortened schedule extends the window for teams to remain competitive, if a season is played, and the Angels fall out of the race, Buchter could prove a valuable trade chip to teams still in contention.
Buchter is coming off a season in 2019 when he appeared in 64 games and pitched to a 2.98 ERA. However, his underlying statistics told a bit of a different story, as he allowed 1.59 home runs per nine innings with a HR/FB rate reaching a career-high 14.5 percent.
That said, the left-hander has a consistent track record of keeping his ERA below three runs over the past four seasons, despite his fielding independent numbers (FIP) always suggesting his numbers should regress. In other words, maybe this is the pitcher he is going to be, and if he can keep the ball in the ballpark, which he has done two of the past four seasons, he can be very effective.
While new minimum batter rules make the left-handed one out guys (LOOGY) less valuable, if Buchter can prove he can still get lefties and righties out in big spots, signed for only $1.5 million in 2020 and under team control until 2021, he might fetch the Angels some decent assets in a 2020 deal.