Fantasy Baseball: What Brandon Beachy's Injury Can Teach Us About Pitchers

John MillerCorrespondent IIIJune 19, 2012

After being diagnosed with a partially-torn UCL, Brandon Beachy could be facing the prospect of Tommy John surgery.
After being diagnosed with a partially-torn UCL, Brandon Beachy could be facing the prospect of Tommy John surgery.Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Sorry Brandon Beachy owners.

Unless you play in a keeper league, you're going to have to cut the cord on Beachy. A confirmed partially-torn UCL and a trip to the infamous Dr. James Andrews is the end of the season for the pitcher.

Of course you can't predict injuries. If you could, you would be the greatest fantasy player (and sports handicapper) ever. But you can look for any performance that seems too good to be true.

More often than not, younger pitchers are unpredictable. They haven't pitched 200-plus innings for multiple seasons and they have no track record of sustained excellence.

Beachy was a preseason darling whom I only managed to snag in one league. He was going quite high given I didn't think he was ready to pitch a full season's worth of innings.

In fact, at one point in May he was the No. 1 pitcher in CBS Sports' fantasy baseball head-to-head leagues. And that was the format in which I owned Beachy.

I knew I should sell at that point.

But I couldn't get the elite player in return that I wanted. So I hung onto Beachy rather than trade him for less than I thought he should be worth.

We all know what happened next. Beachy's performance gradually began to worsen, culminating in a visit to the Elbow Reaper, Dr. Andrews.

Considering the ship has already sailed on Beachy, what's the point of this? The point is, if you don't learn from your mistakes you are doomed to repeat them. I missed the boat on Beachy, but there are other young players I'd cut before they lose their value.

Last week, in a different head-to-head points redraft league, I was offered R.A. Dickey for Felix Hernandez. In this format Dickey had 326 points on the season and Hernandez 198 points when I was offered the trade.

My initial reaction was what it always is: "You want KING FELIX for a dude you picked up off of waivers?!?!"

But then I started thinking.

From a value standpoint, I should do this, no questions asked. But from a name-brand standpoint, I might be able to get something else.

So I didn't decline the trade. Instead I started trying to find a player or two I could add to the deal.

And a little bit later I went to make a counteroffer—only to find the initial trade offer had been rescinded.

The other owner had also been thinking, and had concluded that Dickey might be the best pitcher in fantasy baseball this season, at least in this format. So Dickey wasn't even on the block anymore unless somebody came hard with a "Godfather" offer.

R.A. Dickey pitches in a "pitcher's park" for a team that can win some games. Dickey has been rock solid, especially at home, since coming over to the Mets in 2010.

The one-hitters, copious wins and high strikeout numbers won't continue indefinitely. But given how well he's pitched so far in 2012, there's no reason to think that there is a backslide coming.

If you own a struggling Felix Hernandez, Dan Haren, Ian Kennedy or Ricky Romero, why wouldn't you try to trade one of them for Dickey in a redraft league?

All that matters is statistics here.

And Dickey isn't your only option. There are other pitchers out there right now who are providing value that far exceeds their "name-brand" value.


R.A. DICKEY (99.0 IP, 103 K, 21 BB, 11 Wins, 2.00 ERA, 0.89 WHIP)

LANCE LYNN (81.2 IP, 86 K, 27 BB, 10 Wins, 2.42 ERA, 1.09 WHIP)

COLBY LEWIS (96.0 IP, 84 K, 12 BB, 6 Wins, 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)

JAMES MCDONALD (81.1 IP, 78 K, 24 BB, 5 Wins, 2.32 ERA, 0.98 WHIP)

RYAN VOGELSONG (82.2 IP, 58 K, 32 BB, 6 Wins, 2.29 ERA, 1.16 WHIP)


JOHNNY CUETO (94.2 IP, 67 K, 20 BB, 8 Wins, 2.38 ERA, 1.15 WHIP)

WADE MILEY (82.1 IP, 57 K, 11 BB, 8 Wins, 2.30 ERA, 1.06 WHIP)

JOHAN SANTANA (78.0 IP, 79 K, 26 BB, 4 Wins, 3.23 ERA, 1.13 WHIP)

MATT HARRISON (92.1 IP, 55 K, 22 BB, 9 Wins, 3.41 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)

YU DARVISH (80.2 IP, 88 K, 46 BB, 8 Wins, 3.57 ERA, 1.48 WHIP)

I'm sure that you would like to sell some pitchers that are over-valued based on their "name-brand" (hello Tim Lincecum). But you should be sure to get at least 80 cents on the dollar of the full "name-brand" price.

Most of the time "name-brand" pitchers are regarded highly because they've performed well in the past. So there's a good chance that they can turn it around. Use your best judgement, but always be aware that you're acquiring players for their future performance.

Thanks for reading and good luck to you this season. Please use the comments feature if you have anything to add or care to ask any relevant fantasy baseball questions.

For more follow along on Twitter

Check out John at SportsSomething