Game Thread 7/29: Rockies at Braves

Mike Zarrilli

I'm still enthralled by this lineup.

1. Jason Heyward - CF
2. Justin Upton - RF
3. Freddie Freeman - 1B
4. Evan Gattis - C
5. Chris Johnson - 3B
6. Dan Uggla - 2B
7. Andrelton Simmons - SS
8. Joey Terdoslavich - LF
9. Brandon Beachy - P

Brandon Beachy makes his much-anticipated season debut tonight. Beachy didn't pitch particularly well in the minors - 30 IP, 3.00 ERA, 20% K%, 14% BB% - but that's not really important. When a pitcher comes back from Tommy John surgery, the first thing you look for is if the arm strength has returned, and by all accounts, he's sitting in the low-90s again. Control and command come later, which makes sense. He hadn't pitched for more than 8 months, and then he had to get back up to speed against minor leaguers in mid-season form. Most pitchers take about 4 months off from pitching, and they get their rustiness out of the way in Spring Training.

Here's what we know about Beachy as of this moment. He's had success in the majors over a period of years. During that time, he threw in the low-90s with three other average to better pitches, and he had fairly good control of those pitches. He currently has the arm strength back.

Here's what we don't know. Despite having his arm strength back, can he command the fastball in the zone? How reliable and consistent is the secondary stuff? These questions are important ones, but they're also ones that require Beachy to start in the majors. Don't expect the Beachy of old to immediately perform perfectly. In many ways, he's still back in the late Spring Training/early April timeline for pitchers.

Jorge De La Rosa

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Scouting Report: After essentially not pitching for two seasons, Jorge De La Rosa has been back with a vengeance this season. While his fastball velocity is no longer in the 93-95 range, it's still 90-92 with sink. In addition to the fastball, De La Rosa will throw his slider a lot to lefties, but he'll attack lefties with his splitter. As a show-me pitch, the lefty will throw a few curveballs, but he uses it mostly as a chase pitch.

Analysis: De La Rosa no longer strikes out oodles of hitters, but he's also lowered his walk rate to near-average for the first time in his career. Add that to a 1.75 GB/FB ratio, and you have yourself a pretty solid starter with a 3.51 FIP. The lone warning sign is a 7% HR/FB rate that is much lower than his career 11%. De La Rosa's 2.97 ERA looks nice at the moment, but there's a decent chance that it's not something he's likely to sustain moving forward. No better time than the present to get that regression started.

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