With all the talk about the upcoming year in MLB and how the Atlanta Braves might fare in their first year post-Chipper Jones, some excitement has been tossed around about the starting rotation. It’s said to shape up with Tim Hudson, Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, Paul Maholm and either Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado as the fifth starter.
That looks fairly solid and could point to a coming year of success for the Braves. There is another factor that isn’t really being talked about, however. Sometime early summer, probably June, the Braves will get Brandon Beachy back from Tommy John surgery. Where will Beachy fit in that rotation?
Braves fans all hope that all five men that begin the year as starters do well and stay healthy. If they do not then the obvious answer to what happens when Beachy returns is that he will replace one who is either hurt or struggling. What if no one is hurt or struggling? I think someone with Beachy’s stuff and numbers will find his way into the starting rotation regardless. This is a guy with a career ERA of around three. Sure he is young and that doesn’t encompass a ton of starts but he is no rookie either.
Last season saw him gain a shutout towards the end of his shortened season. That helped him to an ERA just a smidgen above two. That is Greg Maddux territory. While I’m not saying he will be that good for that long, his numbers suggest he will be darn close. The success rate of Tommy John surgery now makes it almost seem like a rite of passage for pitchers. Beachy will be no different. I would look for the Braves already promising rotation to get bolstered substantially by the returning Beachy. He’ll be in that rotation even if it means having a six man rotation.
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