Something about geriatric career minor leaguers fascinates me. They keep coming back to play, year after year, chasing the dream but never quite getting there.
I have been watching the career of 32-year-old Matt Buschmann for a few seasons and it always seems like he is just one injured starter away from getting a spot start, but that injury never happens. He’s been at Triple-A for all or most of the past three seasons and has reached the level, even just briefly, each season since 2009. For a while there, he couldn’t master it – he dominated the low- and mid-minors his first few campaigns, but he struggled mightily at when he reached the step just below the bigs. In his first try, he had a 6.18 ERA, in his next he had a 9.38 mark, in his third go-around he had a 7.31 ERA and take four was a slightly more successful, but still mediocre, 5.23. Take four was 2012. Then something clicked in 2013 and he went 8-2 with a 2.97 ERA for the Durham Bulls. Then in 2014, he was 10-7 with a 8.4 K/9 IP ratio. And in 2015, he allowed only 123 hits in 134.2 frames.
Buschmann has shown success at Triple-A for the past few seasons and he has actually received press for his long career and as yet-fulfilled big league dream. Perhaps this is the year he’ll finally make the jump. He deserves to.
Another guy I’ve followed a lot is 31-year-old Alden Carrithers. Through nearly 2,500 minor league plate appearances, he owns a career on-base percentage of nearly .400 and a .294 batting average. You’d think some team would like his on-base ability, but his lack of power and position has made it difficult for him to get the call to the big leagues. It also doesn’t help that he didn’t even start playing until he was 23 and he didn’t even reach Triple-A until age 28 in 2013.