Results tagged ‘ Wirfin Obispo ’
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.
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.
LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – On a night when Joey Terdoslavich was announced to the 15th Annual SiriusXM Futures Game, Buffalo outfielder Kevin Pillar stole the show, going 4-for-5 with four doubles and two runs scored to lead the Bisons (40-38) to a 4-3 victory over the Gwinnett Braves (35-46) on Wednesday night.
The G-Braves got off to a great start, taking advantage of three errors and coming up with clutch hits to take a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Todd Cunningham singled, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout by Phil Gosselin and scored on a grounder by Terdoslavich for the game’s first run. Terdoslavich reached on an error by first baseman Luis Jimenez and Ernesto Mejia reached on an error by third baseman Mauro Gomez, putting runners on first and second with one out. Stefan Gartrell and Joe Leonard each picked up RBI singles to make it 3-0.
Jimenez cut into the lead with a solo homer in the top of the fourth. His 14th home run of the season snapped a 13.1-inning scoreless streak by Gwinnett starting pitcher David Hale.
In the fifth, the Bisons would tie up. Sean Ochinko drew a one out walk and advanced to third on a double by Pillar. They both came around to score on a two-run double by Ryan Goins, making it 3-3. Goins attempted to stretch the double into a triple, but was thrown out at third as Terdoslavich recorded his team-leading eighth outfield assist.
Hale exited after 6.0 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out six. After turning in his third quality start of the season, he turned a tie game over to the bullpen.
However, the bullpen had some trouble in the eighth, as the Bisons took the lead in the top of the frame. Pillar connected for his fourth double of the game to lead off the inning, becoming the first Buffalo player in the modern era to record four doubles in a game. He would eventually come around to score on a wild pitch by Wirfin Obispo (L, 1-3). The right-hander’s errant pitch snapped a 14-outing, 17.2-inning scoreless streak, the longest by a Gwinnett pitcher this season.
Thad Weber (W, 3-1) was impressive for the Bisons in the victory. After allowing the three runs in the first inning, he went on to face the minimum in his last six innings of baseball, allowing one hit and striking out three in the process. He went 7.0 innings with three runs, one earned on four hits. Joel Carreno (H, 3) and Brad Lincoln finished off the G-Braves, tossing two scoreless innings to end the game. Lincoln (S, 3) picked up the save, stranding a pair of baserunners in the ninth.
The Gwinnett offense was held to five singles on the night. Terdoslavich, Cunningham, Gartrell, Leonard and Sean Kazmar each had one hit.
Pillar led the Buffalo offense with his four hits. In two games against the G-Braves, he is 5-for-9 with five doubles.
The Gwinnett Braves continue their four game series with the Buffalo Bisons on Thursday night at 6:05 PM. G-Braves right-hander Joe Bisenius (1-0, 4.76) will face off against Bisons right-hander Chad Jenkins (0-3, 11.37). Listen to the game on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play. First pitch is 6:05 PM.
Thursday is another “$3 Thursday” at Coolray Field. Enjoy $3 food and beverage specials all game long. All Lawn Seats are also just $3. To purchase tickets, call the Coolray Field Box Office at (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com.
Sat, May 18
LHP Yohan Flande (1-3, 4.95) vs. RHP Greg Reynolds (3-0, 2.92)
Sun, May 19
RHP Brandon Beachy (MLB Rehab) vs. RHP Pedro Villarreal (1-2, 4.53)
Mon, May 20
RHP Tim Corcoran (1-3, 3.93) vs. RHP Daniel Corcino (2-6, 7.20)
Tue, May 21
RHP Omar Poveda (3-2, 2.35) vs. RHP Chad Reineke (3-3, 4.10)
The G-Braves finished off their current road trip on a sour note, as they dropped the finale in Pawtucket 5-4. After leading 4-0 through 6 ½ innings, the Red Sox scored five unanswered runs to clip the Braves. Bryce Brentz ended it in dramatic fashion, as he hit a walk-off three-run homer against Wirfin Obispo to clinch it for the PawSox. The Braves did finish a nice road trip though, going 4-4 and snapping their 14-game losing skid.
Joey Terdoslavich enters the fold hitting .327 (54-for-165) with seven dingers and 26 RBI. He leads the International League in doubles (15), is second in hits (54) and four in extra base-hits (23). In four games against the Bats in 2013, he is hitting .438 (7-for-16) with a homer and two RBI… Jose Constanza increased his hitting streak to a league-high 13 games last night. After a dismal start, he has caught fire of late, raising his average to .275 (28-for-102). He is tied for third in the IL with three triples.
The Braves staff ranks ninth in the league in ERA with a 4.04 mark. However, their biggest concern has been free passes. They lead the league with 186 walks and have hit a league-high 24 batters. It has not served well at the end of games, as the Braves have six blown saves… RHP Brandon Beachy will make a rehab start on Sunday afternoon for the G-Braves. He will make his first professional appearance since undergoing “Tommy John” Surgery in 2012. He is slated for the 2:05 PM start on Sunday.
The Braves are currently tied for third place in the South Division and are 13.5 games back of the Norfolk Tides.
The Bats have not enjoyed the 2013 campaign either. They hold a 20-22 mark and are currently 9.5 games back of the Indianapolis Indians in the West Division. Louisville is on a two-game losing streak and is 5-5 in their last 10.
Felix Perez leads the offense, hitting .308 (45-for-146) with five homers and 25 RBI. The outfielder has been exceptional with men in scoring position, posting a .313 (10-for-32) clip with one homer and 20 RBI… Fellow outfielder Billy Hamilton has been the beneficiary of the production, as he leads the squad in runs scored (21). The speedster also leads the IL in stolen bases with 21. Last season, he set the Minor League record by amassing 155 bags in his stints with High-A Bakersfield and Double-A Pensacola.
The Braves will miss the overpowering Tony Cingrani (1-0, 0.00 ERA) in the series. The left-hander is not scheduled to pitch this weekend. However, they will have their hands full with right-handers Greg Reynolds and Chad Reineke. Reynolds comes into the series a perfect 3-0 with a 2.92 ERA. Saturday will be his first start of the season against the Braves. On the other hand, Reineke faced the Braves at home on 4/25. He was sharp, hurling 7.0 innings of shutout baseball. He did not factor in the decision, as his team dropped the game 1-0. On the season, he is 3-3 with a 4.10 ERA.
The Bats dropped three of four at home against the G-Braves in April. However, they hold the all-time mark at 16-15.
On Monday morning before their Grapefruit League matchup against the New York Mets, the Atlanta Braves made four more roster moves. With Opening Day less than a week away, the Braves continue to trim their roster for their matchup against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 1st.
Outfielder Joe Terdoslavich leads the group of moves, as he was sent down to minor league camp after hitting .395 (17-for-43) in 26 Grapefruit League games. The switch-hitting Terdoslavich has impressed with his bat, but it has been his defensive skills that have the Braves raving.
The former Long Beach State 49er, started last season with the Gwinnett Braves, but after a .180 clip at the plate and 22 errors in 50 games, he was sent down to Double-A Mississippi. Terdoslavich found his groove in Mississippi, hitting .315 with a .852 OPS in the final three months of 2012.
With a troublesome season as an infielder, he went back to his old high school to work out as an outfielder. Spending the off season in his home state of Florida served well for the young prospect, as made great strides in the outfield during Spring Training.
However, with the additions of outfielders B.J. Upton, Justin Upton and Jordan Schafer in the off season, Terdoslavich’s chances of making the big league roster were slim. The move did not shock the baseball community. He will likely start the season at Triple-A Gwinnett, working strictly as an outfielder and continuing his development to break the Atlanta roster at some point this season.
G-Braves Bites: Former Gwinnett Braves outfielder Jordan Parraz was sent down to minor league camp, accompanied by infielder Blake DeWitt. Catcher Chritian Bethancourt was assigned to Double-A Mississippi. All three players were a part of the roster moves on Monday morning. On Sunday, the Braves sent down Former Gwinnett Braves pitcher Sean Gilmartin and right-hander Wirfin Obispo to minor league camp.
Rising Stars All-Star Game: Left-hander Gilmartin was named the Starting Pitcher for Saturday’s Braves All-Stars vs. Future All-Stars game. The game will be played on Saturday night, two days before the Braves open in Atlanta and five days before the Gwinnett Braves take the field against the Charlotte Knights at 7:05 p.m. at Coolray Field.
Filling out a 25-man MLB roster is always tricky. Most teams try to build within the minor league system, adding a few pieces via free agency or trades. However, Spring Training allows for 40-man extras and non-roster invitees to come in and win over the staff.
This season, the Atlanta Braves roll into camp with 19 non-roster invitees in addition to the 40-man roster. Most of the players have been with the Braves organization for a few years, but there are several new faces trying to make an impression on the organization.
Pitchers David Carpenter and Wirfin Obispo are two of those faces coming to Braves camp for the first time.
Carpenter signed a contract and the off-season and was placed on the 40-man roster. Last season, he split his time with the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays organizations. He made 33 appearances in the Major Leagues, recording a 0-2 record with an 8.07 ERA. The 27-year old right-hander has made over 60 appearances in the Majors and can add depth to the back end of the pen.
Obispo’s resume is not as deep, but he has been around since 2004. The right-hander started his career with the Cincinnati Reds in 2004. After the 2005 season, Obispo spent five years in Japan, playing for the Japanese Central and Pacific Leagues. He returned to the states in 2012, posting a 5-3 mark with 3.00 ERA through two different levels (Double-A Pensacola & Triple-A Louisville).
He will probably be throwing to two new catchers in camp. Luis De La Cruz and Matt Pagnozzi will make their first appearances with the Atlanta Braves. De La Cruz comes from the St. Louis Cardinals organization. Last season, he spent the majority of the season with the High-A Palm Beach Cardinals. He made a brief appearance in Triple-A Memphis, but did most of his damage in the High-A level. In 67 games, he hit .300 with one home run.
Pagnozzi comes to the Braves after spending the majority of his career with the Cardinals organization. He has been a part of four different organizations (Cleveland, Colorado, Pittsburgh and St. Louis), while spending some time in the Major Leagues with the Cardinals, Pirates and Rockies. In 33 MLB games, he has hit .310 with one home run and 13 RBI. Last season, he spent the year with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers.
On the diamond, Blake DeWitt and Ramiro Pena will compete for a backup spot. DeWitt comes from the Chicago Cubs organization, spending the last two seasons with the Cubs. DeWitt scuffled with the Pirates organization after two stellar seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, the left-handed hitting infielder provides great versatility on the diamond and can be a valuable asset off the bench. In 346 MLB games, DeWitt has recorded a .257 batting average with 21 home runs and 135 RBI.
While DeWitt adds versatility on the corners and second base, Pena can play both middle infield spots and the hot corner. The switch-hitting Pena comes from the New York Yankees, where he spent his whole career. After making great strides in 2010 and 2011, cracking the big league roster, Pena spent all of 2012 with the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.
Finally, Jordan Schafer returns to the Braves for another opportunity to make the MLB roster. After being sent away to Houston in the Michael Bourn deal, Schafer hopes to regain the form that made him one of the most coveted young players in the game. Schafer adds excellent versatility, as he can play all three outfield spots. Last season, he hit .211 with four home runs and 27 stolen bases. Schafer, a G-Brave from 2009 to 2011, will compete with Jose Constanza, Evan Gattis and Reed Johnson for one of the bench spots.
The competition for spots officially begins today, as the Braves started their first full practice at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, FL.
With Spring Training underway, G-Braves baseball is around the corner. Don’t miss your chance to catch the action at Coolray Field, as the future Braves stars of tomorrow start here. The Gwinnett Braves open the season on Thursday, April 4th at 7:05 p.m. against the Charlotte Knights at Coolray Field. For more information on the G-Braves, visit Gwinnettbraves.com, facebook.com/GwinnettBraves1 and twitter.com/GwinnettBraves.