Career journeyman reliever Buddy Baumann was a feel-good story heading into spring training. The 28-year-old lefty had spent his entire seven-year professional career in the Kansas City Royals minor league system before being signed to his first MLB contract this offseason. Although he seemed a likely pick to make the opening day roster in early April, back spasms sent him to the 60-day disabled list, and he disappeared from most fans’ radar. He was added to the 40-man roster on July 1st, and has made 13 appearances for El Paso to the tune of a sparkling 1.06 ERA through 17 innings pitched. After the Pomeranz trade, a spot was cleared off the 25-man roster, and today he finally received a call he’s been waiting so long to hear:
The left-handed Baumann has always held lefties to a stingy average (.080 in 2016), so he might be deployed as a LOOGY. His appearances in El Paso have been no less than one inning, which suggests that he may be used in a slightly more expanded role. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff as his fastball touches the low 90’s with a hard slider and a changeup that sees limited use. At 5’10", he’s slightly undersized, and throws from a low 3/4 position. He relies on deception and pitch selection to miss bats, working his slider low so he can work the fastball inside and near the top of the zone.
Regardless of the role, Baumann is generally regarded as a good guy, receiving some positive press as his MLB opportunity seemed imminent. After a detour to the DL, he’ll finally get his shot.