Spring Training 2012: Who Should Be Named Atlanta Braves' 5th Starter?

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Spring Training 2012: Who Should Be Named Atlanta Braves' 5th Starter?
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

As teams begin preparing for the regular season, rosters get filled out. Who stays on the roster or gets dropped is a key issue around this time of the year.

For the Atlanta Braves, they have one situation that will be decided soon. Does Randall Delgado or Julio Teheran get the fifth starter's spot?

As of yet, neither one has established themselves as the frontrunner for this job. Through this spring, Delgado has a horrible 7.89 ERA with a WHIP of 1.85. He has won only one game and lost four, which is expected with those numbers.

His competition, Julio Teheran, has done worse. His ERA through spring training is at 9.00. His WHIP is at 1.92 and he has an 0-1 win-loss record. However, he has played less than Delgado.

He has pitched 13.0 innings, while Randall has pitched 21.2 innings. Teheran has had fewer opportunities due to soreness to improve his numbers.

Right now, the two options for the fifth spot are not looking as good as they were at the beginning of spring. Thankfully, we are still only in spring training, not in the middle of the regular season. Both pitchers started last year in the regular season, so we can also take into account those numbers.

In three starts and five total appearances, Julio Teheran had a 5.03 ERA, a 1.475 WHIP, and a 1-1 record. He had a very poor strikeout rate of 4.6 K/9. Thankfully, he was able to maintain a 1.25 K/BB rate. For a 20-year-old, his numbers were somewhat respectable, but he did not live up to expectations that year.

On the other hand, Randall Delgado thrived in the majors. In seven starts and 35.0 innings, Delgado had a 2.83 ERA and a 1.229 WHIP. However, his strikeout rate was exactly the same as Teheran's. His K/BB rate was only slightly better, at 1.29. This shows that he got batters out primarily through contact.

However, this was not a bad thing for him, as shown by the fact that he was able to keep his ERA under 3.00. Like Teheran, his record was 1-1, even though he pitched in four more starts.

Who Should Be the Brave's Fifth Starter?

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Through both the regular season and this year's preseason, Randall Delgado has the statistical edge over Julio Teheran. He has shown that he can perform at the top level and even though he has done poorly this spring, he has been able to stay healthy and still out pitch Teheran.

While Teheran has a higher ceiling than Delgado, he has yet to fully mature as a major league pitcher. Delgado is closer to being a full-time starter in the big leagues, and has proven that he can be an effective starter for the Braves. For this reason, I believe Delgado should be chosen as the fifth starter in the very good Braves starting rotation.

The argument could be made that Teheran has better stuff, but at the moment, he still has yet to learn how to properly use his talents.

Delgado is more prepared and weathered, and now Fredi Gonzalez should allow him to use his more developed talents once again for the Atlanta Braves.  

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