What To Make Of Braves Pitching "Prospect" Brandon Beachy

It's been discussed quite a bit in the last couple of weeks, "who is this Brandon Beachy kid, and where did he come from?" Some of us here at Talking Chop are getting thrashed for not including this guy in our mid-season top-30 list. But most people are left scratching their heads about how well a non-drafted free agent like this can be carving up double-A.

He was good enough this week to make Baseball America's Prospect Hot-Sheet. Here is what they had to say:

Two years after going undrafted and signing a free agent deal with the Braves, Beachy is making quite a name for himself. His spot in the Southern League all-star game was well deserved. Beachy spent most of the year dominating as a reliever, going 1-1, 1.40 with 49 strikeouts in 39 innings, but when a spot in the Mississippi rotation opened up, the Braves jumped at the chance to see what he could do in a starting role at Double-A. He hasn't disappointed. In 30 innings since moving to the rotation, Beachy has gone 2-0, 0.90 and has accumulated a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 44-to-6. He has limited batters to just a .155 average. And he's not doing it with deception: Beachy has a 90-94 mph fastball and a plus curveball.

He's been absolutely filthy this year. BA also has a good full length article about Beachy (subscription required). Here is a quote from Beachy from that article:

"My best pitch is definitely the fastball," he said. "If I can control that, move it in and out and get ahead of hitters, it really sets me up to use my offspeed stuff."

He's just a standard three-pitch pitcher with a fastball, change-up, and curve. Are his pitches really that good? Are they plus? Plus-plus? A guy doesn't strike out 93 batters in 68.2 innings without having some pretty damn good stuff. BA says in the quote above that his curve is a plus pitch, and they allude to the fact that his fastball may be as well. All of this from an undrafted junior out of college.

I guess my question to everyone is, "is this guy for reals?" Is this a case where the book just hasn't gotten out on him yet. Is this a case of a player just having an exceptional hot streak, and he'll eventually come down to earth? I'm as confused as the next guy, though I'm enjoying the ride for the moment. Is he the second coming of Scott Diamond (that was my thinking for keeping him out of my top-30 list, just not enough history of this kind of dominance, my thinking is that it's a fluke... of course, if he keeps it up for the whole year, then it's not a fluke).

In the comments, give me your opinion of Beachy, and if you've seen him pitch, tell us why he's special.

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