Brandon Beachy was on the fast track to stardom before he tore a ligament in his right elbow and was forced to miss almost 1.5 years between 2012 and 2013.
After he quickly lit up the minor leagues, the Atlanta Braves unleashed Beachy on Major League Baseball in 2011 and the young pitcher certainly didn’t disappoint. In 2011 Beachy threw 141.2 innings, had a 3.68 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP and 169 strikeouts; his 10.74 K/9 led all pitchers who threw at least 140 innings and he had a swinging strike rate of 11.8 percent, also first among pitchers with 140 innings. Fantasy owners everywhere became enamored with the Braves’ pitcher, and owners who invested in him heavily in 2012 were rewarded right from the start.
Before Beachy blew out his elbow in 2012, he pitched 81 innings — and they were spectacular ones. In those 81 innings Beachy had an ERA of 2.00, a WHIP of 0.96 and 68 strikeouts; it looked like Beachy was building upon his successful rookie career, and then the injury occurred. Beachy missed the rest of 2012 and with the exception of a few late-season starts he missed all of 2013 as well.
Beachy’s back though and according to recent reports, he doesn’t expect to have any limitations regarding his elbow and he expects to enter 2014 completely healthy. Health, not skill, will determine Beachy’s success in 2014. I have absolutely no doubt in Brandon Beachy’s ability. In 267.2 career innings he has an ERA- of 85 (which would have been the 26th best among starting pitchers last season), a K/9 rate of 9.25, a K/BB rate of 3.20 and a 1.13 WHIP. In 2013, only these nine pitchers had a K/9 of at least nine and a K/BB rate of three or better: Matt Harvey, Chris Sale, Felix Hernandez, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, Yu Darvish, Stephen Strasburg, Jose Fernandez and A.J. Burnett. That’s pretty good company right there.
I have Brandon Beachy projected to win nine games with a 3.81 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP and 133 strikeouts. I have him ranked as my 76th starting pitcher entering 2014, sandwiched between Jose Quintana and Jaime Garcia. As I mentioned above, the success Beachy has in 2014 ultimately comes down to his health. I have Beachy pegged to throw just 150 innings (and even that would be a career high, the most he’s ever thrown in a season — including both the majors and minors — was 146.2 innings back in 2011) but if he can make it through 2014 healthy he has a chance to outperform that projection by quite a bit.