Atlanta Braves fans received terrible news last night on Brandon Beachy, the one pitcher who had been consistent, and was leading the majors with a 2.00 ERA, has a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. He’s looking for a second opinion, but it effectively knocks him out for a minimum of a year.
It’s sad news. Beachy is a great story: Undrafted, he has become one of the best pitchers in Braves rotation over the past two years. He is smart and effective. I hope he returns like he was when he left. Something tells me, that a pitcher with his storied career and determination, he will be fine mentally. It’s become commonplace to have Tommy John surgery nowadays. Not sure why, but I believe it goes like this: “Hey kid, welcome to the big leauges! Step over here please to get your standard issued Tommy John surgery.”
Even with managers and teams studying mechanics, limiting pitch counts and trying to use witchcraft to predict a safe route for pitchers, nothing seems to predict if they will get hurt. Some pitchers can pitch 200 innings a year, some can’t. Nothing has changed over the years, it was the same back then as it is now. Trial and error.
Perhaps, one day, all athletes will walk through a body scanner prior to every game to see if anything could be potentially damaging. Maybe one day …
Timing has it’s way of working itself out. With the Beachy to the DL move, the Braves will call back Jair Jurrjens to the rotation. My thoughts? Eh.
Jurrjens was good for a few years, then dominant for half a season and mediocre at best since. Some awful starts, some decent but nothing special. Jurrjens key to success is effectively using his change-up and fastball, having a distinction between the two. Apparently, his velocity is back up, which has brought back the difference maker between his fastball and change-up. What do I say to that? Eh.
It’s all smokescreen to me folks. Perhaps he is pitching better, but it’s still not good nor what he used to pitch like. There are a few pitchers still pitching better than him right now in Gwinnett! But, why call him up? I’m glad you asked.
As most fans know, there is a thing called the trade deadline. It’s where the teams reevaluate their needs — some will sell (trade their players) and some will buy (trade for players). I see the Braves doing both, more selling than buying, though.
The Braves have needs, that’s for sure. But the Braves also know and have shown they won’t trade away a massive package of prospects for a player. Not anymore. They still regret the day they made the Mark Teixeira trade. Every team has made those trades, so it’s unfair to be hard on them over it just because it didn’t turn out the way we wanted. It’s like pitchers — win some, lose some. Again, history hasn’t changed.
I think the Braves are bringing Jurrjens up to increase his value at the right time. Teams already are calling around to get a feel on the market, and the Braves want to make sure when they mention Jurrjens, teams don’t hang up. Sure, they don’t want to sound desperate like they were with Kenshin Kawakami, but they don’t have to if Jurrjens does his part. Jurrjens isn’t stupid; he knows this. If he performs well, he will more than likely find himself on another team by the end of the year. The Braves have too much depth at pitching and the system is starting to bunch up, especially with recent draft picks progressing. The key to a good minor league system is developing your players at the right time. Julio Teheran or Kris Medlen will be in the rotation by the trade deadline. Or, perhaps, the Braves will trade for a veteran and keep Medlen in the pen. It could go either way at this point, because the Braves haven’t been playing well lately, and it’s no use to talk about who they could trade for it they aren’t in contention by the All-Star break.
But if we were to talk trading, I see prospect Ernesto Mejia as a prime candidate. He’s a first basemen that is absolutely raking in triple-A, posting a .312 average with 13 home runs and 49 RBIs in only 67 games. He’s blocked at the majors unless he can play third, but with Freddie Freeman, Brian McCann and Christian Bethancourt, Mejia doesn’t stand a chance to play first barring injuries to the aforementioned. But again, there is a lot of good, promising young first basemen on the trade market right now, so it’s unknown what his true value is.
Jurrjens can rescue the Braves. He can pitch well enough to bring them back around and keep the Bravos in contention, but can he start with Boston?
Braves fans over-reacting?
I’ve mentioned this before, plenty of times. So has fellow writer David O’Brien of the AJC. We’ve both written about how if you read the comment sections of any Braves post, forum or whatever you read, the comments read as if the Braves are in last place and possibly the worst team on the planet. When things go wrong with the team, every fan thinks they can run the team better than the current GM or manager. Without fail, the mentality is “I can do that bad and will do it much cheaper.” When things are going right, Braves management can do no wrong. It’s the way life is, in general, and 90 percent of the world operates that way.
Breathe 1 … 2 … 3 … 4 … and exhale 1 … 2 … 3 … 4.
Feel better now? It’s only halfway through June, guys. Four games back and, thankfully, the Nationals have stumbled a little as the Braves have. The Braves are battling a rash of injuries along with some inconsistency, but they aren’t in last place, and the wheels haven’t fallen off. They are still in contention in the division and wild card races, and there is plenty of time to go. A lot of things can happen … as we all know from the final month last year.