Braves Prospect Report: Julio Teheran RHP
by, 04-18-2011 at 12:39 PM (678 Views)
The Braves system is stocked with intriguing young arms right now, many of whom could make significant contributions to the club during the current season. If you've followed the Braves at all in the recent past, you are certainly aware of the success that young flame throwers Craig Kimbrel (RHP) and Johnny Venters (LHP) are having out of the Atlanta bullpen, and the presence of right handed starter Brandon Beachy in the 5th spot in the starting rotation. Talented lefty Mike Minor has made nine starts for the Braves in the past two seasons, providing glimpses of his potential.
However, many see 20 year old right hander Julio Teheran as having the biggest upside of all the Braves young arms. In fact, Baseball America selected Teheran as the Atlanta organizations number one prospect, ahead of Minor, Kimbrel and Beachy, despite the fact that he has never pitched a single Major League inning.
According to BA, Teheran has an "electric" arm. His fastball stays in the 94 to 96 mph range, and he maintains his velocity well during appearances. He features two quality secondary pitches in what Baseball Prospectus referred to as a "good curveball and at least average change".
Currently listed at 6 feet 2 inches tall and a slight 170 pounds, Teheran still has some maturing to do physically. Some have projected him in the 185 to 200 pound range, others more optimistic at up to 215 pounds. His stamina has been a concern, but should improve as he grows and increases his strength. Teheran has worked to improve his mechanics, yielding a smooth, easily repeatable delivery, reducing concerns about wear on his arm.
Teheran has, however, had some command issues, especially with his secondary pitches. His curveball has significant 12 to 6 break, and will buckle many hitters knees if he can consistently throw it for strikes. He throws his curve in the mid to low 70's. There are concerns that the delivery of his changeup will tip his intentions to hitters. Major League hitters will feast on the pitch if he cannot iron out this issue. If he can, he will have another quality offering that sits in the mid to low 80mph range. Overall Teheran has had success in the minors with his command, boasting a 3.92 SO/BB ratio in 44 games through the 2010 season.
The Braves obviously recognized something special when they signed the talented righty out of Colombia in 2007 for an $850,000 bonus, the largest bonus on the international market that year. Indeed, if all goes well and the youngster is able to iron out some issues in the minor leagues, he could become a significant part of the Atlanta starting rotation for years to come. At worst, with his velocity, he will contribute out of the bullpen.