Atlanta Braves Got Brandon Beachy's Best Wednesday Afternoon

Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIJune 24, 2011

ATLANTA - JUNE 22: Brandon Beachy #37 of the Atlanta Braves pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays at Turner Field on June 22, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves have a very deep starting rotation. They are littered with household names like Derek Lowe, Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson.

But it’s one of their lesser known pitchers that has been making waves.

People may not know who Brandon Beachy is just yet, but the guy is pretty darn good. In 12 career starts, Beachy has a 3.17 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and is striking 9.9 batters per nine innings.

Beachy has been limited to just eight starts before Wednesday because of a stint on the DL. But Beachy made his return on Wednesday, and the Toronto Blue Jays saw the best of him.

Beachy limited the Blue Jays to just four hits and one run in six innings of work. He walked two batters and struck out 11 in the 96-pitch effort.

The 24-year-old flat-out dominated Toronto. He threw first pitch strikes to 16 out of the 23 batters he faced and registered more swinging strikes (19) than called strikes (16).

There were a couple of other reasons why Beachy dominated on Wednesday.

First, his fastball was popping. Over the past year and a half, Beachy has averaged 91.3 mph on his fastball. Against the Blue Jays, Beachy was popping his fastball at 93 on occasion.

That extra pop allowed Beachy to get Toronto hitters to swing and miss at 14 percent of his fastballs. He also showed more confidence in his fastball than in the past. Normally, Beachy throws his fastball around 63 percent of time, but on Wednesday, he threw his fastball 70 percent of the time.

Second, Beachy did a great job of changing speeds. Take a look at his Pitch Speed Chart courtesy of PitchFX:

Beachy had a 20 mph difference on some pitches. That’s impressive.

There aren’t too many teams in baseball that have a fifth starter the quality of Beachy. He’s pretty good, and if he continues to pitch like he did on Wednesday, he will be a household name before we know it.