August 26, 2011 at 12:21 pm by Ben Duronio under Atlanta Braves
As just a 24-year-old rookie, Brandon Beachy is putting himself along side some of the best strikeout pitchers of all time.
Below is the list of seasons in which a pitcher has struck out 10 batters per nine, had a 4.00 K/B rate, and started at least 20 games.
There have been 23 seasons in baseball history with each of these marks reached. Currently, Brandon Beachy is experiencing one of those seasons.
He is on the brink of not being a member, as he stands at exactly 4.00 K/BB and just over 10 K/9, but a strong finish to the season will have him end up in this exclusive club. Exclusive may be an understatement, as this club features six Cy Young award winners who have combined to reach the benchmarks 14 times (Zach Greinke is on pace to finish the season with these totals, but could fall below the requirements by season’s end). If both Greinke and Beachy reach the totals, they will be the 10th and 11th members to join.
The only non-Cy Young award winners on the list are Beachy, Curt Schilling, Mark Prior, Ben Sheets, and Justin Verlander — who is the favorite to win the award this season. Both Prior and Sheets had the potential to be perennial Cy Young candidates if not for numerous injuries that derailed their careers. Schilling finished second in balloting three times and had a storied career. Beachy would certainly be the least known pitcher to ever accomplish this feat.
Age wise, only Prior was younger than Beachy currently is. We all understand that Beachy’s rookie season has been extremely impressive, but I think many of us fail to see just how impressive it actually has been and continues to be. The ability to strike out many batters and walk very few is likely the most important combination of skills a pitcher can have. In Beachy’s first full year as a Major League starter, we are beginning to understand that he has the tools to be one of the top pitchers in all of baseball.