In 2012, the Atlanta Braves suffered an injury that left the team without an ace pitcher and possibly cost the team a postseason series appearance.
With an ERA of 2.00 and striking out 7.6 batters per nine innings over 13 starts, Brandon Beachy was making his case for a possible All-Star game appearance and a chance at a Cy Young award at the end of the season. Then, the elbow discomfort was felt.
After Tommy John surgery, the organization was extra careful bringing Beachy back to Atlanta. In 2013, he only made five starts. In that time, he was less than sharp at times, giving up four or more runs in three of those starts. However, in one start, he pitched eight innings and allowed only three hits and one walk. His other start, he pitched six innings and only gave up two runs. So, basing his future performance off of the small sample size in 2013 would be almost impossible.
It was easy to see in 2013, however, that Beachy wasn’t the same pitcher that he had become in 2012. His command was off, which could easily be viewed as a result of rust from not pitching for over a year. Also, his fastball velocity was down. In 2012, he commanded the strike zone with a fastball that he could blow people away with ease at times. With the loss of velocity, hitters will be able to catch up to his fastball and it could lead to trouble.
It’s hard to see Beachy returning to the same form that he had in 2011 and 2012. He’s not going to strike out 8-10 batters per nine innings and his walks will most likely increase. The hits will rise, and if he continues to live high in the zone with his fastball, the home runs totals will also go up.
He will probably be a high three to a mid four ERA guy that the team will hope that he can go six innings most nights. If he can stay healthy, he can hold down the 4th spot in the rotation until he can maybe figure things out for himself.