Braves' Beachy Emerges From Obscurity
ATLANTA—Two years ago, Brandon Beachy headed to Virginia to work on his pitching.
A third baseman who handled some of the closing duties at NAIA Indiana Wesleyan, Beachy decided to hone his skills on the mound in the summer collegiate Valley League.
Late in the summer, Braves scout Gene Kearns was cross-checking some players when he saw the righthander. Since Beachy had gone undrafted after his junior season, he was able to sign with Atlanta as a free agent.
"Not only was that a complete shock, but it was a really exciting time for me," Beachy said. "That was pretty cool, going to Virginia to pitch summer ball and winding up there as a member of the Braves."
The excitement has not stopped since he signed. After debuting in the professional ranks by going 2-0, 2.25 in 12 relief innings with Rookie-level Danville in 2008, Beachy pitched at three levels last season, posting a combined 4-3, 3.87 in 35 games, including eight starts.
Through mid-July of the current campaign, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Beachy had spent the entire slate in the Southern League, going 3-1, 1.13 in his first 69 innings. He began in the bullpen and was even better after shifting to the rotation in mid-June, going 2-0, 0.72.
"Regardless of whether I'm starting or relieving, I try to treat it all the same," the 23-year-old Beachy said. "The one difference about starting that I really like is the routine aspect of the job. I can get my work in—my running, long toss, side work—without having to worry about throwing in a game that night. As a starter, I try to pitch one inning at a time, which is my same approach as a reliever."
Either way, the results have been impressive. He allowed only 45 hits in his first 64 innings while striking out 80 batters and walking just 19 for Double-A Mississippi.
Scouts rave about his clean arm action, his easy 90-94 mph velocity and his above-average changeup and breaking ball.
• Beachy was named the SL pitcher of the week for the week in early July, with Mississippi outfielder Willie Cabrera earning hitter of the week honors. Cabrera, who ranks among the league leaders in average (.330/.390/.474 in 285 at-bats), batted .524 to help the Braves put together a season-high seven-game winning streak.
• Low Class A Rome lost a key component of its lineup when first baseman/outfielder Bobby Hefflinger broke his left thumb in early July. Hefflinger, 20, was hitting .250/.303/.382 and led the Braves in RBIs (43) at the time of the injury.