By Corey R. Cunningham
The International League Top Prospect is Atlanta SP, Julio Teheran. Teheran is one of 3 top pitching prospects in the Atlanta organization. Teheran is being followed by Randall Delgado and Arodys Vizcaino. Some may call this the best prospect trio in history. Teheran has the ability to be a club ace with his 3 pitch sequence too much for the minor leagues. Teheran has the potential to be a fear able pitcher, although with a slim natured body, Teheran features a fastball, changeup and curveball.
His fastball can at time reach the high 90's, although it comes with little to no movement. he will need to develop some rise and drop on the high speed in order to compete at a high level in the MLB. Teheran has a changeup that most hitters in his minor league stint did not see. He threw mostly fastballs, and at the High A level that's fine, however, as promotions come, so do the pitch sequence. Teheran's SO/9 ratio dropped through A+ at a ratio of 10.8, AA 8.6 to AAA 7.6. When I am drafting for my minor league dynasty team, this is one stat I'm very particular about, however, I am not worried with Teheran as I feel he will mature into this stat. At just 19 years of age, (turns 20 on Jan 27th), its great to see him being a reliable 2-3 starter at such a young age.
The Braves gave Teheran a shot in early May, pitching in two games, although the star didn't see past 4 2/3 innings in either of his May starts. Although Teheran had been tattooed for 10 total hits in just a total of 8 2/3 innings in May and only 2 K's the young man grew, and was given a taste of two tough lineups which Arizona and Philadelphia both consist of being NL Playoff teams. Just like other up and rising youngsters, Teheran was given the famous 'September-call up' pitching in another 3 games for the Braves. His first start in September was his 3rd straight game pitching in an opposing ballpark; that is tough on a young man. Teheran had a less than spectacular 5 games in 11' in the MLB rotation.
Teheran finished his final two appearances at Turner Field. Although not a crowd pleaser, and perhaps a lot of pressure on the young man due to the Braves crunch time playoff hopes going into late September. Teheran pitched a total of 5.5 innings, giving up a run and inning along with 6 hits. Two of those 6 hits were homeruns, totaling 4 homeruns given up by Teheran in just 19.2 total innings of work. On a positive note, Teheran did K 10 and walked 8. Although a high walk ratio, he still managed to sneak by pitches on hitters. It's hard to face 3 out of 5 teams who is in the NL playoffs being such a young starter. Unlike Strasburg who debuted against the Pirates, Teheran got a taste of Philly in his.
Teheran may start the season in AAA Gwinnett in 12', for perhaps 3 reasons. One, his age, just turning 20 at the start of the MLB season, I believe some maturity is still in his future, and you never want to rush success, especially when you have the potential he has. Second, the pitching the Braves have in their depth chart this year. You can never have too many pitchers, and when you trade your Ace of the past couple seasons in Derek Lowe and have Jair Jurrjens lingering on the trade market, one can say they have plenty of pitching to go around. This year’s projected starting rotation is Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson are both coming off injuries, Jair Jurrjens, Brandon Beach and Mike Minor. Hudson should be ready for start of spring training, however, I don't think it will be the same for Hanson, and that will leave a spot or two opened for the 3 top pitching prospects. No guarantee Beachey and or Minor make the squad out of spring training, I feel Teheran and Delgado can both be No 4 and No 5 pitchers this year out of the gate.
You will want to target Teheran in later rounds of your draft. Pending the number of rounds you have, I would draft Teheran anywhere from the 18th to the 23rd rounds. He will give you depth of your SP, and perhaps will give you a gem in the late rounds. If you only have a 20 man roster, you may not want to draft Teheran, but perhaps keep him on your watch list. Be ready to grab him off the FA wire once the news hits that he is starting, I know I will be.