In the first major promotion of the year for a White Sox prospect that wasn't a reliever, Ryan Buch has been moved up to Winston-Salem. Buch's promotion falls in line with a series of starting pitcher moves in the last week.
On Friday Brandon Hynick was traded to the Reds for cash, Matt Zaleski took his spot on the Knights' pitching staff and Terry Doyle was promoted to Birmingham. The announcement of Buch's move today fills in the gap. Jon Gilmore's return from the disabled list means the top three minor league affiliates all have full rosters.
Buch, 23, was an eighth round pick out of Monmouth in 2009 and has developed into a solid prospect for the Sox. He made 10 starts and 14 relief appearances for Kannapolis last year, striking out 61 and walking 26 with a 3.13 ERA in 72 innings. This year he went 4-3 with a 3.65 ERA in eight starts with 45 strikeouts and 17 walks in 44.1 innings.
The right-hander has a good fastball-curveball combo and most think he will end up as a reliever, but it's good to see him getting work as a starter in the low minors. Buch's future as a starter will depend on the development of his change up, but the most encouraging thing is the control he has displayed the last two seasons. His control was mediocre in college and downright bad his rookie season with Great Falls (21 BB in 21.1 IP). However, in his two partial years with Kannapolis his BB/9 was 3.3. It certainly seems like Buch has improved as a pro and he is definitely a legitimate pitching prospect.
Doyle took the loss tonight for the Barons (6 IP, 4 R, 4 K, 2 BB, 10 H) continuing his winless streak this year. The 25-year-old Boston College product was 0-5 with the Dash despite posting a 3.86 ERA in eight starts. That's a perfect example of why not to use W-L as an indicator of pitching performance.
It will be interesting to see who fills Kannapolis' rotation following Buch's departure. It's possible that Steven Upchurch will make the full-time move to the rotation. Upchurch has been fantastic this year. He's been used mostly as a reliever, but has been getting longer outings than your typical reliever. It wouldn't take long for Upchurch to be stretched out as a starter if the Sox decide to start him regularly.