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Sharks Discuss the Underrated: Pitcher’s Edition

Beachy, Atlanta

to get excited over a pitcher who had seven wins last year in 140 innings
pitched? Look a little deeper and you see a guy who struck out 176 batters
in 142 innings for MLB’s highest strikeout rate (10.7 per nine innings) among pitchers
with 20 or more starts. And that’s probably not a fluke if you consider his
strikeout rate per nine innings in the minors the season before was 11.1.

Atlanta Braves have pitching coming out of their ears, and Beachy is getting
lost in all the noise. Their overall pitching depth is generating and has an
average draft position around 115. He is used to this as he was lost in
the shuffle last March to Mike Minor, who we all think is severely undervalued
in his own right, and he finds himself slotted behind him in the Opening Day
rotation. The biggest red flag for him is about his ability to pitch a
full season without health concerns. Coming into the minors, he was used
primarily as a reliever and then transitioned into a starting pitcher. We
think he makes the transition seamlessly and could be one of the best pitching
values of 2012. He is drafted like a No. 4 pitcher, but would be a great No. 3
and even a solid No. 2. Guys like Beachy are why it’s best to wait on acquiring
starting pitching.

Lester, Boston

only thing possibly preventing Lester from putting it all together and winning
the American League Cy Young award is between his ears. Lester is a
nibbler. Watch him pitch and you’ll see a guy with an arsenal of pitches,
capable of overpowering most hitters but has a tendency to try and pitch to the
corners after getting ahead of batters. While his control is good, it’s
not great, and it leads to high pitch counts and him getting yanked earlier
than he should, which keeps his win totals down.

all changes in 2012. He won’t come cheaply with an average draft position
around 51 as the 14th pitcher selected, but is a much better bet to outperform
a handful of pitchers being drafted ahead of him, none of which have as a low a
floor as he does much less the ceiling that he possesses. He fell victim
to his surroundings in Boston in 2011. Look for a very strong bounce back and a
breakout into the Top 5 starting pitchers for 2013.

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