Season in Review: Brandon Beachy
Brandon Beachy. It really was an eye opening year for Beachy. He wasn't on anyone's radar coming into the season as a prospect before catapulting his way up the charts to the 16th spot on my midseason rankings. He will still be eligible for the list in 2011, but where will he land? I have no idea, I haven't started looking at my rankings for the upcoming season yet. Probably somewhere around #13...he shouldn't have enough juice to become a top ten prospect, which deep down, I don't think he is anyway.
At AA, AAA, and majors: 5-3, 1.88 ERA. 134 1/3 IP, 109 H, 5 HR, 35 BB, 163 K
Pretty solid line for someone who no one expected to do anything coming into the year. He started off in the bullpen in Mississippi, and was promoted to the rotation for his final 6 appearances after making Southern League hitters look foolish. He'd be promoted to Gwinnett at the end of July after striking out 12.22 batters per 9 while walking only 2.67 per 9. Crunch the numbers, and you get a K:BB of 4.54, which is fantastic.
Beachy would last 8 games in Gwinnett, and while he wasn't as impressive as he was in Mississippi, he was still great. The K rate fell to 9.46 per 9, but the walk rate fell along with it, all the way down to 1.18 per 9. That's a K:BB of 8.00. Now we're getting into Cliff Lee territory. Beachy was a little more hittable in Gwinnett, as you'd expect: his BAA rose to .229 from .200, and he allowed 2 homers in 45 2/3 innings, compared to 3 in 73 2/3 innings at Mississippi. He struck out at least 4 batters in all 8 of his appearances for Gwinnett, and only walked multiple batters in a game once. Now THAT is good.
Then September rolled along, and everyone expected Beachy's season to be over until October and the Arizona Fall League. Not so fast my friend...Jair Jurrjens went down with a knee injury that would eventually lead to surgery for a torn meniscus, and Beachy got the call. He made his major league debut in Philadelphia in a huge series that would eventually help sink the Braves season. His first start was admirable, considering the circumstances: he only allowed one earned run in 4 2/3 innings, walking 3 and striking out 1. It kept the team in the game, a game they'd eventually lose. Start number two came 6 days later in Washington. Beachy again performed well in a losing effort for the Braves, going 5 innings, allowing 2 earned while walking 3 and striking out a career high 9. Beachy's final start came on the final weekend of the regular season, against the Phillies again. He got his second major league loss, allowing 2 earned in 5 2/3, walking 1 and striking out 5. You can see him settling in as he gained experience, getting his command close to the point he had it at in the minors.
What does 2011 hold for Beachy? Well, I can safely say he's either going to be in Gwinnett's rotation or with the Braves. As for the role if he ends up in Atlanta? That depends on several other factors. The Braves rotation is set right now, with Derek Lowe, Tommy Hanson, Tim Hudson, and Jair Jurrjens having guaranteed roles, while Kenshin Kawakami lurks on the final year of his deal. One of those men will likely be gone by the time spring training rolls around in February; probably Kawakami, but don't be surprised if Jurrjens is dealt for outfield help. That would leave Beachy to battle with Mike Minor for the fifth and final spot in the rotation. Many people say Beachy's career path will take him right to the bullpen, while Minor has been projected as a starting pitcher since day 1. If Beachy loses out on the fifth starter's competition, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see him get shifted into the Braves bullpen in 2011. But there's a part of me that's saying that the Braves might want to continue to have him work as a starter in Gwinnett, just in case of an injury. Whatever ends up happening, we'll be seeing Beachy in Atlanta in 2011. But whether he comes in during the first inning or the seventh is something that we'll have to wait for a few months to find out.
Gonna kick the postseason reflections off in style!
A week after the heartbreaking loss to the Giants in NLDS Game 4, our wounds are sufficiently licked to start talking about the 2010 season, and what was. I'm going to be doing profiles of most of the players who ended the season on the Braves roster. Some will be excluded because of lack of use, or other reasons. You'll get the hang of it once we start rolling.
Today, we start with the Braves most surprising player, who started the year in AA Mississippi, and finished it up on the postseason roster (despite not getting any innings at all in the playoffs). That man is