In a shortened season with limited opportunities, one bad outing can have an outsized effect on one’s statistics. That’s especially true for relievers, including Ryan Buchter in 2020 with the Angels.
Buchter was signed to a minor league deal on February 17 and was a non-roster invitee to big league camp in spring training. The left-hander was added to the 40-man roster in March, and once the season finally got underway in July he made the Opening Day roster.
After sub-3.00 ERAs in each of his four full seasons, plus his one (scoreless) inning as a rookie in 2014, Buchter had a 4.50 ERA in 2020 with the Angels.
In all of six innings. He faced all of 29 batters.
That ERA was 2.25 through his first eight appearances, and four innings, before allowing two runs against the Dodgers on August 14, causing the numbers to swell.
Through 2019, Buchter held left-handers to just .187/.258/.336, with a 29.4-percent strikeout rate. But this year, lefty hitters were 3-for-11 with two home runs against Buchter, who only struck out one while walking five.
A lefty not getting lefties out was a luxury the Angels felt they did not need, and Buchter was designated for assignment on September 2, with 40 percent of the season remaining. Three days later he was sent outright to the alternate training site, but Buchter instead opted for free agency, ending his Angels tenure.
Stats: 4.50 ERA, 7.86 FIP, 6 IP, 8 strikeouts
Salary: $1.5 million
Game of the year
Nearly all of Buchter’s appearances came with either the Angels trailing or the game out of hand. But on August 1 against Houston, Buchter entered a tie game with two outs and two on in the 10th. After walking Alex Bregman to load the bases, Buchter struck out Abraham Toro swinging to end the threat. It was the highest-leverage game of the year for Buchter.
The Angels scored in the bottom of the 10th to get Buchter the win.
After leaving the Angels, Buchter signed a minor league contract with the Yankees on September 8, but was never called up. The left-hander is a free agent.