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Meet: Brian Buscher

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After playing two years at a community college Brian Buscher transferred to USC, where in 142 games he hit .356 with 29 homers, 64 strikeouts and 49 walks.  He was part of the College World Series Final 8 in both 2002 and 2003, and in the latter season was named to the Southeastern Conference All-Star team.  That spring he was drafted for the third time in the amateur-entry draft, this time in the third round by the San Francisco Giants.

"Bushwacker's" first season as a professional baseball player was brief but involved a lot of playing time, as he participated in 54 games for the Hagerstown Suns.  He hit .275/.318/.320 as a 22-year old in A-ball, which was good enough to earn him a significant role with the San Jose Giants immediately in 2004.  That year he was the Giants' #10 prospect according to Baseball America.  All of '04 was spent with San Jose and Buscher improved, batting .292/.359/.408 in 343 at-bats.  Despite better numbers the power still wasn't there, and he would start '05 still with the high-A ball Giants.

Now 24 and still in the lower echelons of San Francisco's system, Buscher was given a chance to shine at third base.  He played 54 of 55 games with San Jose at third and again improved his offense, earning a promotion to AA Norwich after hitting .282/.367/.422.  Competition at Norwich was a major bump from where he had been, and he collected only ten extra-base hits in 215 at-bats.  His .228 batting average and .592 OPS were the lowest of his career.  Defensively he didn't play the hot corner as much as he had in San Jose, but he had more success.  Where he had committed 14 errors in his 54 defensive appearances with the High-A Giants, he committed only six with the AA Navigators in 42 games, and he turned eight double-plays.  Still, 2005 hadn't ended on a high note; his inability to adjust to the higher level of competition would have repurcussions regarding his future with San Francisco.  He would fall off of Baseball America's Top 30 Prospects list for the Giants, and it seemed the organization had the same thoughts.

In 2006 Buscher was still in AA, playing for Connecticut, an Eastern League affiliate of the Giants.  He only hit .259/.313/.366 in 524 plate appearances, but also tallied 23 doubles, 3 triples and 7 home runs; a vast improvement even if it was still sub-par.  He was elected the Eastern League's best defensive third baseman by Easter League managers and the very same Baseball America who had written him off earlier in the year.  He made the mid-season All-Star team.  At 25 he was rebounding from a disappointing 2005, but was in danger of being lost in the system.

Even after the accolades of 2006, the Giants didn't feel Buscher's future had to be with them.  They didn't protect him, and the Twins picked Bushwacker up on December 15, 2006, in the Rule V minor league draft.

Buscher started his career with the Twins in New Britain and killed the competition.  His offense exploded as it never had.  In 247 at-bats he raked, hitting .308/.391/.478 with 19 doubles and 7 homers, earning himself his first promotion to AAA.  His hot streak continued with the Red Wings and in his 35 games picked up where he had left off, posting a .313/.385/.530 line.  The best offensive trend of his career couldn't come at a  better time, and even though his call up to The Show has just as much to do with the Twins' lack of offensive depth and a real third base option as it does Buscher's great season, it shouldn't make his Major League debut any less significant.  He's earned his shot.

Buscher's fine defensive reputation and mediocre offensive history are, in those terms, very similar to what the Twins already have in their current third baseman.  While he doesn't appear to be any sort of heir apparent to Corey Koskie's long-empty hot corner throne, it's always fun to watch how a prospect deals with being in the majors for the first time.  Hell, y'never know.

I found no PECOTA page for Buscher. Any projections are welcome.

Buscher's Minor League Career

Games   AB    H  2B  HR  SO  BB   Avg   Obp   Slg
 359  1326  374  67  23 210 134  .282  .354  .401