Originally posted on Fantasy Baseball Dugout  |  Last updated 5/19/12

BEACH BOY: Brandon Beachy has baseball's best ERA thus far in 2012.

In less than four years he has gone from an undrafted college infielder in 2008 from Indiana Wesleyan to the pitcher with the best ERA in baseball.  After this week’s shutout of the Marlins, Brandon Beachy lowered his already microscopic ERA to 1.33.  Beachy is only the third player in Braves’ history with a sub-1.50 ERA after making at least 8 starts (the others being Greg Maddux and Buzz Capra).  In addition to leading the majors in ERA, he ranks second among big-league starters in opponents’ OBP (.232), behind only Matt Cain.  Beachy’s WHIP is at 0.93 and opponents are hitting just .173 against him.

Not a bad pickup for a 2012 fantasy baseball manager.  I guess you can see now why we had Beachy as one of Top Sleepers for 2012.

Undrafted, Unknown, Unhittable

Beachy is not doing it with an overpowering fastball, as it tops out at about 91.  He throws mostly 4-seam fastballs and an occasional 2-seamer.  He is tall and throws on a downhill plane with a a changeup and a slow curve (72-74 mph) that he commands well and a slider with late movement.  A deceptive delivery also helps keep hitters off-guard, especially the first time that they see him.

Fantasy Baseball Analysis: Brandon Beachy — Beachy’s success this season is based in part on an increased ground ball rate — up from 33.8 percent to 43.1.  He has begun pitching much more to contact while keeping the ball down and limiting home runs.  In the strikeouts category, he is actually less effective: he fanned 10.74 per nine innings last year compared to 6.50 this season.  Beachy will be a two-start pitcher in Week 8 (May 21-27), but that shouldn’t matter to you as you should be starting him every week anyway, regardless of who his opponent is.

The other alternative is to trade Brandon Beachy while his value is still sky high.  At least, that’s the recommendation of Sports Illustrated who has him ranked as the # 1 pitcher in terms of over-rated value right now, just above Lance Lynn.  Certainly, there’s a concern that Beachy will deteriorate as the season goes on, especially given that the most innings he has ever thrown are 141.2 last year.  He clearly tired last season with a 5.27 ERA in the final month of the season.

Want to learn more about Brandon Beachy and what he has to say about his 2012 season?  Follow Beachy on Twitter.

Or, follow me on Twitter @BobBentz.

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