Brandon Beachy has not taken the normal path to find success in the MLB. Undrafted out of college where he played infield, Beachy had worked his way to the majors and solidly into the Atlanta Braves‘ rotation. It was Beachy who got a shot in 2010 and earned his place in the rotation in 2011 over top prospects like Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado. Unfortunately for Beachy, he’s going to have to take an unconventional path again in 2013 to make an impact on this year’s team.
Recovery from Tommy John surgery typically takes 12-14 months. Beachy underwent surgery on June 21, so optimistically a return could come end of June, pessimistically close to September. The Braves had a similar situation with Tim Hudson between the 2008 and 2009 season. Hudson had surgery at the end of July and returned in early September, for a recovery time of just over 13 months. Using a similar timetable that would indicate Beachy would return around the July 31 trade deadline.
The difference in Hudson and Beachy’s situation could be the Braves position in the standings. The 2009 team never seriously competed for the division, and expectations for the 2013 team are much higher. If one of the young pitchers the Braves are counting on stumble to the All-Star break, the Braves could bring Beachy back earlier than they would prefer with the pressure to contend with the Washington Nationals.
The Braves traded away much of their pitching depth this off-season in Tommy Hanson and Delgado, so there could be an opening for Beachy with struggles or injuries to the staff. Worst-case scenario for Beachy, he returns but has no rotation spot and becomes limited to spot-starts or the bullpen. Best-case, Beachy becomes an important “trade deadline acquisition” and returns to the rotation for the remainder of the season and the postseason.
The Braves will just want to see Beachy’s deceptive fastball and good off-speed pitches to have the assurance he will be an effective pitcher in the future.
This one is tough to predict, but I’m guessing Beachy makes four-to-five starts in what becomes basically a wash year for him. It may just be one more hiccup for Beachy to overcome in his unconventional MLB career.