Prospect of the Day: Julio Teheran
When the Braves needed a spot starter on Saturday, they turned to 20-year-old rookie Julio Teheran. He took the loss against the Phillies, giving up four hits and three runs in 4.2 innings, fanning one and walking two. He was sent back to Triple-A Gwinnett after the start, but that was expected and had nothing to do with his in-game performance. How soon will he return?
Teheran was signed out of Colombia in 2007 for a robust $850,000 bonus. After some shoulder trouble in 2008, he emerged as a top prospect in '09 and '10, and began this year in Triple-A at the tender age of 20. He was 3-0, 1.80 before his promotion, with a 25/8 K/BB ratio in 30 innings and 25 hits allowed.
At his best, Teheran features a mid-90s fastball, a very good curveball, and a strong changeup, giving him three plus pitches. His control is quite good for a young power pitcher, he normally exudes confidence on the mound, he has a feel for pitching, and his makeup is outstanding. He has all the physical and mental attributes of a future number one starter, provided he avoids injury.
Some impatient fans might worry about his rough first outing, but remember that he's not old enough to legally drink yet. His velocity was "just" 92-94 MPH in the game according to Pitch F/X, and his command wasn't as sharp as normal, but keep the debut circumstances in mind. The fact that he was in the majors at all is testament to his talent. He was supposed to begin this year in Double-A, but was so impressive in spring training that he began in Triple-A instead. Teheran is a clear Grade A prospect, and if he stays healthy he has a bright future. We should see him again later this year.