What's next for Atlanta Braves rotation? 

July, 25, 2013
7/25/13
12:39
PM ET
On the surface, it appears that the Atlanta Braves have been blessed with much luck concerning the health of their starting pitchers this season. But that the luck is changing. They entered Thursday having used a mere six starting pitchers all season, tied with the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics for fewest this season, and one of those fellows has started only once. But things have changed recently, of course, as underrated lefty Paul Maholm hit the disabled list with a left wrist contusion and veteran right-hander Tim Hudson saw his season end prematurely in a fluke incident Wednesday with New York Mets speedster Eric Young Jr.
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Daniel Shirey/USA TODAY Sports Brandon Beachy, who likely will make his 2013 debut soon, has a career K/9 rate of 9.5

From a fantasy and even real-life perspective, though, I don’t think the Braves are going to be worse off when Alex Wood and Brandon Beachy join the rotation permanently. And both are really, really good. Wood has made one start this season and had been scheduled to pitch Thursday before the Hudson injury. I’ve been touting him as a fantasy addition for 12-team leagues and deeper ones for a while, waiting for his eventual promotion. A few weeks ago, the Braves sent the left-hander to Triple-A Gwinnett to get stretched out -- he’s been a long reliever for the Braves after starting throughout the minors -- and word is that he’ll be capped at 90 pitches against the New York Mets. No matter, he’s sticking around.

Beachy, of course, is a bit more accomplished at the big league level, having struck out 169 hitters in a mere 141 2/3 innings in his breakout 2011 season and then posting a league-leading 2.00 ERA over 13 starts in 2012 before his elbow blew out. Beachy’s WHIP was 0.963 in that injury-shortened season, and his strikeout rate remained strong. He’s been close to returning to the Braves from Tommy John surgery for a month now, and the unfortunate Hudson injury clears room for him. Nothing against Maholm and Hudson, but Wood and Beachy can certainly be upgrades, and fantasy owners should get interested quickly.

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