Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves: When Will Julio Teheran Finally Secure a Slot in the Rotation?

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08: Julio Teheran #57 of the Atlanta Braves throws a pitch during the game against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 8, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images
Samantha SchipmanContributor IIJune 6, 2012

Innings pitched: 6

Walks: 1

Pitches: 109

Those are Julio Teheran's numbers for his start this past Sunday against the Charlotte Knights. What’s he still doing in Gwinnett?

Good question.

Teheran has been the Braves biggest prospect for the past few seasons. He had a taste of pitching in the big league last season.

During his time in Atlanta, he was 1-1 with an ERA of 5.03 in 19.2 innings pitched. He also gave up 11 earned runs, four of them home runs. He did rack up 10 strikeouts.

Not exactly impressive, but not terrible either.

In spring training, Teheran didn’t do much better. His ERA was a whopping 9.00. He was also 0-1 with his WHIP at 1.92.

Teheran was sent back to Gwinnett while Mike Minor and Randall Delgado won spots on Atlanta’s roster.

With a 2-4 record and a bloated ERA of 6.98, Minor is on the verge of losing his spot. So close that Kris Medlen has been sent to Gwinnett to “stretch out."

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08: Julio Teheran #57 of the Atlanta Braves reacts as he walks back to the dugout after being taken out of the game against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 8, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

The Braves want to gradually increase the number of innings he pitches and number of pitches he throws. They are grooming him to be a starting pitcher.

Before Tommy John surgery in 2010, Medlen was in Atlanta’s starting rotation that season. He was 6-2 with a 3.68 ERA.

Working out of the bullpen this season, he pitched 14.2 innings. In that time, his ERA was 5.65.

He has started one game since being in Gwinnett. Medlen only lasted 2.1 innings after giving up four earned runs on five hits. He gave up a home run and walked two. His ERA is a monstrous 15.00.

But, the Braves don’t seem concerned. They’re reminding fans that they are easing him into longer innings.

Randall Delgado’s numbers are better than Minor’s, but not by much. He has a record of 3-5 with an ERA of 4.58.

Of the 28 earned runs he has allowed, five left the yard.

If Medlen will seemingly replace Minor, why not have Teheran take Delgado’s place?

Jair Jurrjens was demoted earlier this season and is still struggling in Gwinnett. It appears that he will not be pitching at the big league level anytime soon.

Teheran is 5-2 with a respectable 3.15 ERA. In 54.1 innings pitched, he has given up 19 earned runs. He has 43 strikeouts and 21 walks.

Those numbers are far better than both Minor and Delgado’s.

The Braves' first priority appears to be the Kris Medlen experiment. They want to continue to mold him back into a starter. It won't be easy, especially in getting him back to his 2010 form.

If the experiment works the way the Braves want and Medlen is able to be the starter, that takes care of one issue with the starting rotation. However, there are two problems in the rotation.

Who gets sent down, Minor or Delgado?

Presumably Minor, though the Braves haven’t said for certain. Do they leave the other in the rotation and hope he improves?

If the Kris Medlen Experiment fails?

Teheran is more than capable of coming to the Braves' rescue.

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