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A second-round draft pick in 2010, Buckel entered the season ranked as my No. 83 prospect.
In 2012, the undersized right-hander breezed through the Carolina League with a 1.31 ERA and 91-25 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 75.2 innings. He then held his own with a 3.78 ERA and 68-23 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 69 innings following a midseason promotion to Double-A Frisco.
Seemingly on the fast track to the major leagues, Buckel received an invitation to big-league camp this spring. Unfortunately, the 22-year-old’s exposure against major league hitters was a complete disaster, as the right-hander suddenly was unable to locate his fastball anywhere close to the strike zone.
As a result, he allowed seven earned runs on four hits, five walks and two hit batters in one inning over two appearances.
Because his velocity and mechanics countered any notion of an undisclosed injury, all signs suggested that the issue was between Buckel’s ears.
To make matters worse, the issue carried over into the regular season, as he allowed 21 earned runs on 10 hits and 28 walks through his first 9.1 innings.
In an effort to prevent things from deteriorating even more, the organization opted to send Buckel to extended spring training to sort out the problem. Considering that he hasn’t pitched in a game since May 1, I can only assume that it’s not going well.