This week, it came to light that Atlanta Braves right-hander Brandon Beachy is 100% healthy and will enter the 2014 season without limitation in Spring Training.
Beachy will not have any limitations when Spring Training begins. But he says he will pace himself during the camp’s early portion. #Braves
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) January 27, 2014
#Braves Beachy said arm feels really good and he expects to be on same schedule as other pitchers at spring training, w/out restrictions.
— David O’Brien (@ajcbraves) January 27, 2014
This is “old news” at this point after a 3-day old “announcement”, but one thing remains unclear.
Where does that leave the Braves rotation?
It has been quite some time since the now 27-year-old Beachy has been a relevant Major League option after his well-documented arm troubles, but it’s easy to forget just how dominant he was prior to the initial injury. In 81 innings prior to his untimely exit in 2012, Beachy notched a 2.00 ERA in 13 starts, and during the 2011 campaign, he “broke out” with 141.2 effective innings with a lights-out ability to strike out batters (10.74 per 9 innings) with strong control.
With all of that said, the Braves have the “good problem” of having numerous pitching options at this stage. Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, and Kris Medlen are unquestionable “locks” in the rotation, leaving only two spots to fill from the group of Beachy, young stud Alex Wood, and two veterans in the form of Gavin Floyd and Freddy Garcia. It is entirely fair to suggest that Beachy and Wood, if healthy, are the best two arms to choose from, but with the high level of money invested in Floyd ($4 million with incentives that could reach $8.5 million), it’s quite reasonable to think that he’ll be given the opportunity to pitch at some point.
From the outside looking in, Beachy will be the odds-on favorite to fill the #4 spot with Alex Wood as the #5 out of Spring, but with the real concern about Beachy’s durability (he returned for 30 innings in 2013), nothing is set in stone. However, it is certainly exciting to see the words “no restriction” and “Brandon Beachy” melded together, and if he can rekindle the type of upside he flashed during a 200+-inning stint between 2011 and 2012, the Atlanta rotation could reach new heights.