Results tagged ‘ Ryan Buchter ’

Inside the Numbers: Cole Figueroa

The Gwinnett Braves (0-1) started off the season with another tough loss to the Durham Bulls (1-0) on Thursday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Facing a 6-2 deficit in the top of the third inning, the Bulls battled back, scoring one run in the fourth inning, three in the fifth and one in the seventh to claim the victory 7-6.

Bulls’ shortstop Cole Figueroa scored the game-winner, as he continued to haunt the G-Braves by going 2-for-3 with two runs scored in the contest.

In 30 games against the Braves, Figueroa has tallied a .354 (40-for-113) batting average with 15 runs scored, six doubles, two triples, one homer and 20 RBIs. Last season, Figueroa batted .355 (27-76) with six extra-base hits and 14 RBIs, while only striking out twice.

So, what makes Figueroa so good against the Braves?

In 113 official at bats, the infielder has fanned five times. His .044 strikeout per at bat average is well below his career strikeout per at bat average of .103 (225 K / 2180 AB). In addition to his low strikeout rate against the G-Braves, Figueroa has a BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) of .358 against Gwinnett.

Some sabermetricians would suggest that Figueroa is getting lucky, as his BABIP is greater than his BA.

But, line drive hitters tend to have high BABIP’s. Figueroa is a great example, as he holds a BABIP of .312 in his career, opposed to a lifetime batting average of .291 (635-for-2180).

So, luck has nothing to do with it and the G-Braves will have to deal with Figueroa another three days at the DBAP.

Gwinnett will face Figueroa and the Bulls in game two of this four game series at 7:05 PM tonight.

Background Check: Stephen Cole Figueroa is a Tallahassee, FL native, but played his collegiate baseball at the University of Florida. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2008 First Year Player Draft by the San Diego Padres. In 2010, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays along with RHP’s Brandon Gomes and Adam Russell and LHP Cesar Ramos in exchange for shortstop Jason Bartlett. Figueroa is entering his fourth season with the Rays organization and his seventh in professional baseball.

G-Braves News & Notes: Ryan Buchter was optioned from Atlanta prior to last night’s contest. The southpaw tossed a scoreless eighth inning. Buchter made the Opening Day roster, but did not appear in a game in his first call-up to the big leagues.

 

-JD-

New on the 40: Ryan Buchter

Yesterday, I delved a bit into the background of right-hander Wirfin Obispo, the hard-throwing Gwinnett Braves closer who was just added to the Atlanta Braves’ 40-man roster last Friday.  Today, it’s time to do the same for the other newest 40-man addition, left-hander Ryan Buchter.

The 26-year-old Buchter emerged as a bullpen force for the G-Braves last season, compiling a 4-0 record and a 2.76 ERA in 51 relief appearances.  In addition to converting all five of his save chances, the southpaw also ranked among International League relief leaders in strikeouts per 9.0 IP ratio (1st, 14.95) and lowest opponent batting average (3rd, .168).  Buchter’s most impressive work came down the stretch as he posted a 0.00 ERA over his final 14 appearances in August and September.

Much like Obispo, Buchter’s “breakout” season in 2013 came after a well-traveled start to his career.  Originally drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 33rd round of the 2005 draft, the New Jersey native has already been traded twice.  The Nationals dealt him to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for right-hander Matt Avery in 2008, and the Cubs moved him to Atlanta in a deal for right-hander Rodrigo Lopez in 2011.  Amid the ever-changing scenery, including stops in eight different leagues, Buchter put together All-Star seasons in the Class-A Midwest League in 2009 and the Double-A Southern League in 2010.

Buchter’s travels and subsequent learning experiences were featured in a story I wrote for the final regular-season issue of Tomahawk Talk last year.  In it, he reflected on his unlikely discovery by the Nationals, the benefits of being traded, his confidence gained from the 2012 Arizona Fall League, his “rollercoaster” 2013 season in Gwinnett and more.

Ryan Buchter, photo by Karl Moore / Gwinnett Braves.

Ryan Buchter, photo by Karl Moore / Gwinnett Braves.

Buchter Breaks Out

Left-hander Ryan Buchter has emerged as a go-to arm out of the Gwinnett Braves bullpen in 2013

by Dave Lezotte (published in Tomahawk Talk, August 26, 2013)

He may not qualify as the biggest prospect arm on the Gwinnett Braves’ roster, but what left-hander Ryan Buchter has been able to do in his first full Triple-A season is nothing short of impressive.  The New Jersey native has held International League hitters to a .178 batting average, striking out 83 over 51 innings in 42 outings this year.

Buchter’s professional career, including stops with the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs organizations, has always been a bit under-the-radar.  Even his signing by Washington came about almost on accident.

“It was a mistake,” said Buchter about his discovery by the Nationals.  “I ended up pitching against somebody who was being scouted already.  I kind of outpitched him, and it all started from there.”

The pitcher being scouted by both the Nationals and the Cubs was Winslow Township High School right-hander Chris Rollins.  The Nationals passed on Rollins in the 2005 First Year Player Draft, but took Buchter in the 33rd round out of Highland Regional High School in Blackwood, NJ.

A draft-and-follow selection, Buchter attended Gloucester County Community College in nearby Sewell, NJ before starting his professional career in 2006 at age 19.  His first two seasons as a Nationals’ farmhand were anything but successful.  In his first year in the Gulf Coast League, he went 1-1 with a 7.24 ERA in 11 games, one start.  The next year, he went 1-2 with a 6.82 ERA at Short-A Vermont.  He finally showed some promise in 2008, going 4-2 with a 2.59 ERA in 17 games between the GCL and Class-A Hagerstown, but was traded away after the season.

The Nationals dealt Buchter to the Cubs in exchange for right-hander Matt Avery on November 3, 2008.  The change of scenery proved to be a turning point in his career.

“Getting traded kind of jump-started me,” said Buchter about the move to the Cubs.  “It made me take a different path in my career.  I started to work a little harder that off-season and it started to show right away.  From there, I kept building and building.  I attribute (my success) to being traded and not wanting to let the new team down.”

With his career refreshed in a new organization, Buchter put together two award-winning seasons in the Cubs’ system.  In 2009, he made his first professional All-Star Game, going 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA and five saves in 38 games for the Peoria Chiefs of the Class-A Midwest League.  A year later, he was an All-Star again in the Double-A Southern League, going 7-2 with a 4.65 ERA in 47 games for the Tennessee Smokies.  His third campaign as a Cub began with mixed results as he split time between Tennessee and Advanced-A Daytona, but another shakeup was imminent.

On May 26, 2011, Buchter was traded for the second time.  The Cubs sent him to Atlanta in exchange for 35-year-old right-hander Rodrigo Lopez.

“I was just sent down to High-A to iron out some kinks,” reflected Buchter on the time of the trade.  “I started throwing well in Daytona with the intention of (moving back up) to Double-A or Triple-A.  When I got traded, (Daytona manager Buddy Bailey) pulled me aside and said ‘I have good news and bad news for you.  The good news is, you’ve been traded.  The bad news is, you’re going back to High-A.’  That was a difficult thing to handle.”

Buchter started his Atlanta Braves’ career with Advanced-A Lynchburg, going 2-5 with a 3.59 ERA and a career-high 15 savs in 2011.  In 2012, he moved on to Double-A Mississippi, returning to the Southern League for the first time since pitching with Tennessee.  Facing familiar competition, he boasted a 3-1 record, 1.31 ERA and four saves in 35 relief outings for the M-Braves.

“I just went out and did what I knew I could do,” said Buchter about his success.  “Just give me an opportunity and I’ll pitch and throw well, especially late in the game.  I embraced the role I was being used in, seventh, eighth, sometimes ninth (inning) and it worked out.”

His stint with Mississippi worked out for a late-season promotion to Gwinnett for his Triple-A debut.  Buchter went 0-2 with a 10.12 ERA in nine outings for the G-Braves, indicating that he still needed some refinement.  A trip to the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League and an extended look in Braves’ Major League camp during the spring helped him regain confidence.

“It helped me iron out some bad habits that I created when I came up here (to Gwinnett),” said Buchter about his fall and spring assignments.  “It made me realize that I can get anybody out.  I can get the prospects out; I can get the big league guys out.  Once you realize that, I don’t want to say the game becomes easier, but you start to have a little more faith in yourself.”

Buchter began his 2013 season on Gwinnett’s Opening Day roster and was nearly unhittable early, postin a 1.00 ERA in nine April outings.  He came back down to earth in the summer months, going 0-0 with a 4.58 ERA in 28 games from May through July, but found his best stuff in August.  Through his first seven games, he went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and one save.

“It’s been a pretty fun rollercoaster,” said Buchter about 2013.  “With pitching, it’s easy to be a perfectionist and want to go out and pick yourself apart for giving up a walk or giving up a hit.  Sometimes the hardest thing is to realize that if you throw up a zero (no runs), it’s actually a good inning no matter what else happens.”

He’s had plenty of those good innings lately for Gwinnett, most of them in pivotal spots.  With the departure of closer Cory Rasmus to the Los Angeles Angels in a July trade, Buchter has been given more opportunities to pitch with late leads and in save situations.  Pitching in tight ballgames is something he relishes.

“The game’s a little more fun when you’re out there and you’re up by one, down by one and you know your team needs you to throw up a zero,” said Buchter.  “It’s something that I’ve learned to embrace and I look forward to a one-run game.  I get a little antsy in the bullpen hoping they’ll call down and say my name, that way I get a chance to come in.”

Buchter has climbed to the top of the league in relief strikeouts thanks to a fastball that sits in the mid-90′s and a willingness to challenge hitters with it.  For the left-hander, getting ahead in the count quickly is the key to his prolific strikeout numbers.

“If I get ahead, a lot of times my success rate is a lot higher than a lot of guys,” said Buchter.  “Get strike one, and then I try to pitch to one side of the plate for righties and lefties.  If I get two strikes on a guy, then I’ll try to put him away.  It’s a very simple game plan.  A lot of fastballs; then I’ll mix the cutter in and then try to put them away with the breaking ball.”

Buchter’s professional career started with an unlikely discovery, progressed with three different organizations and has resulted in a 2013 season that has him closer than ever to the Major Leagues.  While he waits for a shot at Atlanta’s bullpen, he remains optimistic and focused.

“Obviously, you’re waiting for your turn, and for a lot of bullpen guys, it’s luck,” said Buchter.  “It’s luck and what the team has planned for you.  They may have a plan for you, they might not, but you’ve got to continue to stay focused on the task at hand down here (in Gwinnett).  It’s good to just keep your mind on things down here and do your job every day.  If you don’t do your job here, they’re not going to be looking for you anyway.”

The Atlanta Braves will certainly be giving Buchter a long look when Spring Training starts up in February.  For the first time in his career, he has the stability that comes from being on a Major League 40-man roster.

-DL

Draft Day, G-Braves Draft Classed

It’s every amateur player’s dream to hear your name called on draft day. Tonight at 7: 05 ET, young baseball players from all over the country will have a new uniform to sport, as they will selected by a major league baseball team in the 2013 First Year Player Amateur Draft.

As we wait in anticipation of the MLB First Year Player Draft, we will take a look at all the Gwinnett Braves that have been drafted in the past.

First off, the Braves roster has seen 17 players called on draft day; six of those players were originally drafted by the Braves. Sean Gilmartin out of Florida State University was the highest draft choice, selected in the first round (28th overall) of the 2011 draft, while, Cory Rasmus was picked in the supplemental first round (38th overall) out of Columbus, GA in 2006. Right-Hander David Hale was a third round pick in 2009 out of Princeton University.

With the bevy of talent in the rotation, the G-Braves benefited offensively from the 2010 draft.  Todd Cunningham (2nd round) out Jacksonville State University, Joe Leonard (3rd round )out of Pittsburgh University and Joey Terdoslavich (6th round) out of Long Beach State University were all a part of the 2010 class.

The rest of the non-international players were drafted by other clubs. The highest pick of the 11 remaining players was outfielder Brandon Boggs, selected in the fourth round of the 2004 draft out of Georgia Tech by the Texas Rangers. The 2004 class produced infielders Sean Kazmar (5th round by the San Diego Padres out of College of Southern Nevada) and Paul Janish (5th round by the Cincinnati Reds out of Rice University) as well.

The following two seasons would have produced two players apiece. However, in 2005, Cole McCurry was selected in the 31st round out Surry Community College (NC) by the Atlanta Braves, but elected not to sign. The other southpaw picked in 2005 was Ryan Buchter, 33rd round by the Washington Nationals out of Highland Regional Park H.S. (NJ).

In 2006, outfielder Stefan Gartrell went in the 31st round out University of San Francisco to the Chicago White Sox, while Pat Egan went in the 36th round to the Baltimore Orioles out of Quinnipiac College.

In 2008, Tyler Pastornicky heard his name called, as the Toronto Blue Jays picked him in the fifth round out of The Pendleton School (FL). Alden Carrithers was also selected in that draft, going in the 15th round to the Detroit Tigers out of UCLA.

The rest of the G-Braves did not have a partner in their draft class, as Joe Beimel (18th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of Duquesne University), Matt Pagnozzi (8th round by the St. Louis Cardinals out of Central Arizona College) and McCurry (43rd round by the Baltimore Orioles out of Tennessee Wesleyan College) all came out solo.

G-Braves take on Rochester tonight, Thursday, June 6 at 6:05 PM.

-JD-

Braves Cut, G-Braves Add Former First Rounder

Cory Rasmus finished second in saves with the M-Braves in 2012. (Brian Byrd)

Cory Rasmus finished second in saves with the M-Braves in 2012. (Brian Byrd)

On Tuesday afternoon, following their Spring Training game with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Atlanta Braves made 10 cuts to their Spring Training roster. With the World Baseball Classic slowing and minor league camp breaking into exhibition games, the Braves cut their roster to 48.

There was one move that directly correlates with the Gwinnett Braves, pitcher Cory Rasmus was assigned to Triple-A Gwinnett. The former first round pick (36th overall) of the 2006 First-Year Player Amateur Draft out Phenix, AL, was the first player to be assigned to the G-Braves roster this season.

Rasmus, the younger brother of Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus, has been with the Atlanta Braves organization for seven years. The once highly-touted prospect endured a season-ending injury in 2007, which has slowed his career. However, after struggling as a starting pitcher from 2009-2011, Rasmus was moved to the bullpen last season with Double-A Mississippi and had his best season yet.

In 50 games, he posted a 3-5 record with a 3.68 ERA and seven saves. His strikeout rate was promising, as he fanned 62 in 58.2 innings. He will look to continue his climb to the big leagues as formidable back end guy.

G-Braves Bites:

The Braves also cut the following players, right-handed pitchers Juan Jaime and Aaron Northcraft were optioned to Double-A Mississippi.

While, Pitchers Ryan Buchter (LH), Yohan Flande (LH) and Gus Schlosser (RH), catchers Luis De La Cruz, Braeden Schlehuber and Jose Yepez and infielder Joe Leonard were re-assigned to minor league camp.

Buchter, Flande and Yepez all spent time with the G-Braves in 2012.

With 21 days left before the season opener against the Charlotte Knights at 7:05 p.m. at Coolray Field on April 4, there will be more additions to the G-Braves roster in the next few weeks. For more information on all that is G-Braves baseball, check out the website at gwinnettbraves.com or follow us on twitter @gwinnettbraves.

-JD

2013 Spring Training – Weekly Update

Ernesto Mejia is 1-for-6 in four games in Grapefruit League.

Ernesto Mejia is 1-for-6 in four games in Grapefruit League.

Spring Training is underway and the Atlanta Braves have got off to a slow start, losing three of their first four games. With new faces around camp and early departures for the World Baseball Classic, the Braves are not worried about win-loss records, but concerned with building a continuity to prepare for an exciting summer of baseball.

With several regulars leaving for the WBC, it has allowed for former 2012 G-Braves to make an impact in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Twelve of 15 Braves that wore the G-Braves uniform in 2012 have seen the field this spring.

Joe Terdoslavich made a big splash, hitting a solo-homer on Feb.22 against the Detroit Tigers. His home run was the lone run for the Braves, as they were stymied by seven different pitchers in a 2-1 loss.

Tyler Pastornicky has flourished since Andrelton Simmons left to Taiwan to prepare for the WBC. In his last two games, Pastornicky has picked up two hits and an RBI.

The other three positions players, Ernesto Mejia, Jordan Parraz and Jose Yepez have one hit each through the first four games. Jose Constanza, who is having visa issues in the Dominican Republic, is yet to report to camp.

On the hill, the race for five went from luke-warm to steamy. Sean Gilmartin and Julio Teheran matched each other on Sunday afternoon with two scoreless frames. Both hurlers picked up two strikeouts and allowed one base runner each. Gilmartin gave up a single, while Teheran walked one.

If the race for five was not enough, the bullpen battles are starting to get hot. Cory Gearrin has tossed two scoreless frames, allowing one hit and recording two strikeouts, while Dusty Hughes hurled a perfect frame with one strikeout.

Lefties Ryan Buchter, Yohan Flande and Daniel Rodriguez have struggled through the first few days of camp. Buchter has allowed two runs on three hits in one inning. Flande has given up six runs on seven hits in two innings of baseball. Rodriguez’ control issues continue to give him trouble, walking three and giving up three runs in his lone appearance.

The players return to action today at 1:05 p.m. at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, FL against the Washington Nationals.

-JD

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