Through my formative years I watched as much baseball as I could. Since this was before MLB.tv that consisted of Jays games and anything that FOX or NBC would broadcast on the weekend. But the one constant was my mornings with sports highlights and my weekends watching This Week in Baseball.
One mainstay through the 90's was the absolute dominance of the Atlanta Braves starting rotation. It's no secret, but in case you weren't aware, the Braves had the Miami Heat style rotation of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Steve Avery for the better part of 6 years. Compiling Hall of Fame type pitchers like that and some great offense was a key part of their run of 14 consecutive post-season appearances.
Going into this season, the Braves, looking for their 2nd straight post-season appearance seem to have the pieces in place for another knockout young rotation. Third year stud Tommy Hanson is the ring leader with rookie chucker Brandon Beachy and fireballer Mike Minor are the corner stones of the future of this organization.
Hanson compiled 21 wins in his first 2 years and was 3rd in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2009. Brandon Beachy has compiled an 8.9 K/9 and a 3.60 K/BB rate through his first 36.1 IP. More impressively, he's striking out almost 25% of the batters he's faced and has a BABIP against of .237. Minor, who has just made his first MLB start of 2011, sported a AAA K/9 of 10.17 and a FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) of 2.65.
This is a rotation to watch. Hopefully they can get the offense going and we can sit back and watch them carve up the NL East for the next half decade or so.