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Brandon Beachy: Stud Muffin

During draft season this year, Brandon Beachy was a late-round flier in mixed leagues due to his spring training battle with Mike Minor. After Beachy beat out Minor, owners were still skeptical thanks to underwhelming scouting reports and fear of somewhat of an unsecure role in the Braves rotation. Next season, Beachy certainly won’t be considered a flier if he keeps up his torrid start to the 2011 season.

If I used the word “stud” to describe Beachy, odds are most owners would be surprised and argumentative. A stud they may have never heard of? Ridiculous. If you don’t want to believe that Beachy has been ever so studly, you should look at where he ranks amongst NL starters in key pitching categories. Better yet, let me look at those numbers for you, the busy reader, and break them down in an easily digestible fashion.

Strikeouts and Walks
When it comes to strikeouts, we can’t just look at raw totals when evaluating Beachy since he missed time with an oblique injury. Using K/9 instead of raw strikeouts, we can see that Beachy ranks second in the NL, behind only the magnificent Zack Greinke. You read that right, America, Beachy ranks ahead of aces like Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw, and the Braves’ own Tommy Hanson.

Just like we did above, it makes more sense to use a rate stat like BB/9 to gauge Beachy’s place among pitchers in the National League. If my fifth-grade counting skills are still intact, Beachy has the 26th best BB/9 in the NL, which doesn’t seem all that impressive until you remember his strikeout totals. His walk rate is good enough to land him in fifth place in K/BB, behind the aforementioned Greinke, along with Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Cliff Lee.

Putting his strikeouts, walks, and home runs together, we see that Beachy has a top-20 FIP in the NL. Why so low on the list? Well, Beachy likes to pitch up in the zone, resulting in a good deal of fly balls and thus, homers.

It’s far too late to grab Beachy off the wire if you’re in a mixed or NL-only league, thanks to his two great starts on his return from the DL. But, if you’re in a very shallow league, you may be able to swoop in and take advantage of other owner’s ignorance. Beachy is certainly a trade target if you want a young starter with high strikeout rates and a pretty solid team behind him and if you decide to rebuild in a keeper league and wish to deal an ace, Beachy is definitely someone you should ask for in return,