Jake Buchanan returned to the Big Leagues on Labor Day, pitching in mop-up duty for the Chicago Cubs in a 7-2 win over the woebegone Milwaukee Brewers. Buchanan, who had stints in the majors with the Astros in 2014 and 2015, is the fourth NC State alum to appear at baseball's highest level in 2016, joining rising star Trea Turner, Carlos Rodon, and Eric Surkamp.
Buchanan was added to the Cubs' 40-man roster and called up on September 1st. He gave the regulars in the pen a rest after Chicago needed 13 innings to take down the Giants on Sunday. Buchanan was touched for a solo home run off the bat of Ryan Braun and recorded a strikeout in his inning of work.
Buchanan went 12-8 with a 4.34 ERA at AAA Iowa where he appeared as a starter in 22 of his 24 appearances. Advanced metrics show that he was a bit unlucky; his BABIP (.329) and LOB% (64.9%) were a bit high and low, respectively. Thus, his FIP was a more respectable 3.78 in the hitter-friendly PCL. He was 1-3 with a 4.06 ERA in his time with Houston.
Buchanan is a decent bet to take a late-season start or two as the Cubs set their rotation for the playoffs.
Turner (.335/.354/.515) has been on fire for the Nationals. He's been worth 2.5 WAR in just 209 plate appearances, a pace that would make him an MVP candidate if he can sustain it for a full season. Rodon, who like Turner was a first round pick in the 2014 draft, is 6-8 with a 3.90 ERA in his sophomore season for the White Sox. Rodon has slashed his walk rate from 4.6/9 to 2.8/9 this season but done so at the expense of being more hittable. Opponents are batting .278 against him this season after hitting just .251 off him in Rodon's rookie campaign. Surkamp washed out of the Bigs after going 0-5 with a 6.98 ERA for the A's and is now pitching in Korea.