Phillies’ starting pitching looks even deeper after David Buchanan’s dominating Triple-A start

It looks like the Phillies don’t need to worry about starting pitching depth this season.
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher David Buchanan
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher David Buchanan / Greg Fiume/GettyImages

As much as the focus has been on the Philadelphia Phillies' offense in the early going, starting pitching was considered to be one of the main strengths of the team heading into the season.

Even with one of their rotation arms, Taijuan Walker, beginning the year on the injured list, the Phillies starters currently rank first in the majors in strikeouts (99) and opponents batting average (.206) and third in ERA (2.95) and WHIP (1.08). Helping the cause has been the stellar performance of Spencer Turnbull, one of the team's key depth signings this past offseason. The veteran has stepped in seamlessly to fill Walker's spot in the rotation.

It appears that the Phillies’ starting pitching depth has gotten even stronger following an outstanding performance by another one of their offseason acquisitions. Veteran right-handed pitcher David Buchanan went eight strong innings in his most recent start for the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs. He gave up just two runs on five hits with four strikeouts in the victory over the Durham Bulls last week. He was so dominant that, at one point, he retired 17 Bulls in a row while never registering a three-ball count.

Even though his first outing didn't go smoothly, when he gave up five runs in four innings against the Worcester Red Sox, he looks to be back on track after an up-and-down spring training.

Phillies starting pitching depth strengthened by Buchanan's success

The Phillies signed Buchanan to a minor league contract in February to add to the pitching depth. He actually started his career with the organization when he was selected in the seventh round by the Phillies in the 2010 MLB Draft.

Following two underwhelming seasons as a big league starter with the ballclub from 2014 to 2015, Buchanan eventually left North America following the 2016 season to continue his professional baseball career in Asia. After spending another three seasons struggling in the Nippon Professional Baseball League with the Yakult Swallows, he finally found some much-needed success with the Samsung Lions in the KBO.

In four seasons with the Lions, Buchanan compiled a stellar 54-28 record with a 3.02 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, with 539 strikeouts in almost 700 innings pitched. He was named a KBO All-Star in his 2022 and 2023 seasons. With his impressive numbers catching the eye of the Phillies brass and his hopes of revitalizing his MLB career, Buchanan inked the minor league deal with the club to help pave the way for a potential comeback (subscription), per The Philadelphia Inquirer's Alex Coffey.

The confidence-building start last week is no doubt the first step in the right direction for Buchanan, who hopes to play a larger role for the Phillies down the road. If he contributes in any way similar to what Turnbull has done so far for the team, it would present a big win-win situation for both Buchanan and the Phillies.