June 24th, 2012

Buckel’s Big Debut


Like Justin Grimm gave the Texas Rangers a lift with his promotion from Frisco to Texas, the Frisco RoughRiders hope that right handed pitcher Cody Buckel can give them a lift after his promotion from Myrtle Beach. The just turned 20 year old (June 18) makes his Double-A debut this evening at Dr Pepper Ballpark against the Corpus Christi Hooks.

Buckel, taken in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft, has taken a bit of the fast track to Frisco. In his first full professional season he went 8-3 with a 2.61 ERA and 1.14 WHIP for the low-A Hickory Crawdads. He posted an 11.2 strikeout per nine ratio (120 strikeouts) and walked just 25 batters in 96.2 innings. Among starters with at least 15 starts, his 4.44 K/BB ratio was 5th in the South Atlantic League.

The Simi Valley, California native has improved his prospect status even more in 2012, however, as he had a break through first half with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Buckel went 5-3 with a miniscule 1.31 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 13 starts. It took five starts before Buckel gave up more than two hits in a start and overall he gave up three or less hits in nine of the starts. He struck out at least eight batters in six starts, including a season high eleven batters on May 17 against the Winston-Salem Dash. That was arguably his best start of the season as he gave up just three hits and one walk over eight shutout innings. Buckel was named to the Carolina League All-Star team and was named the Carolina League pitcher of the week three different times this season.

Drafted out of high school, Cody Buckel doesn’t have a big frame, but it’s hard to argue with the results that come out of it. Rated the #6 prospect in the Texas Ranger’s organization entering 2012, Baseball America’s scouting report of Cody Buckel read as:

“The Rangers haven’t been afraid of taking undersized pitchers in recent drafts, including the 6-foot Buckel. He opted to forego a Pepperdine commitment to sign for $590,000 as a second-round pick in 2010. He opened his first full season in extended spring training and then the Hickory bullpen before going 7-2, 2.04 with a 104-19 K-BB ratio in 17 starts. Buckel’s intelligence, mechanics, and quirkiness are reminiscent of those of his best friend—Trevor Bauer, the No. 3 overall choice in the 2011 draft and his offseason workout partner. As with Bauer, Buckel’s unorthodox and torque-heavy delivery creates deception. While he doesn’t have overpowering stuff, he has a deep four-pitch mix, outstanding pitchability and a fiercely competitive nature. Buckel’s fastball sits at 88-92 mph and touches 94 with armside run. He also throws a plus changeup, an average curveball with big break that he learned from Barry Zito and a short cutter/slider that induces grounders. Some scouts still worry about his size and durability, though his athleticism should help him. Buckel doesn’t have incredible upside, but he has a low floor and could become a solid No. 3 starter. He’ll headline Myrtle Beach’s 2012 rotation and may move quickly because of his advanced feel for pitching.”

In the process he becomes the highest rated pitching prospect in the Ranger’s organization to pitch to date for the RoughRiders. He will be opposed tonight by the Corpus Christi Hooks (and Houston Astros) own top pitching prospect in Jarred Cosart. Here’s a sneak peek at Buckel’s pre-game bullpen session.

-MD

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