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Julio Teheran is still an elite prospect.
Julio Teheran signed with the Braves out of Colombia for less money than the Yankees offered because of his relation to the Braves' signing scout. Since then he's gone on to become one of the best prospects in the game. Heading into both 2011 and 2012 Teheran ranked fifth on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospect List. As one would expect, that qualifies him as being head and shoulders above the rest of the competition for this spot.
Teheran made his pro debut in Danville of the Appalachian League in 2008, but got hit hard in six starts. Teheran started 2009 back in Danville and in seven starts dropped his ERA from 6.60 to 2.68 before being promoted to Low-A Rome. Teheran was up and down in Rome but held his own, going 1-3 with a 4.78 ERA.
In 2010 Teheran really took off, starting back in Rome. In Rome it took just seven starts, where he went 2-2 with a 1.14 ERA, before getting another promotion. In High-A Myrtle Beach he got to make 10 starts and went 4-4 with a 2.98 ERA and struck out 76 in 63.1 innings before getting promoted again. That promotion took him to Double-A, where he went 3-2 with a 3.38 ERA at just age 19.
Teheran was began the year in Triple-A last year at just 20 years old, and posted historically good stats for that level at that age. Teheran went 15-3 with a 2.55 ERA in 25 games, but only struck out 122 hitters in 144.2 innings. He also made his big league debut, but he struggled a bit in a small sample size.
Teheran came into this year with a shot at winning the final spot in the Braves rotation, but was just awful in spring training and lost out to Randall Delgado. He was blasted in his first start in Triple-A but has been better since, though he has been very inconsistent and is just 5-4 with a 3.50 ERA in 13 starts.
Teheran also made one big league start against Toronto. He looked dominant at times throughout the first four innings, but struggled in the fifth and got the early hook from Fredi Gonzalez. Still he showed why he is such a highly rated prospect, and could eventually become a top of the rotation arm.
Teheran has been picked apart a bit in the last year. His numbers at Triple-A are all down from last year, including the walk rate and the strikeout rate. Then there are some that are concerned about his lack of strikeouts, even from 2011. Now some are saying that his big fastball doesn't have the same life this year as it has in the past.
The good news is that Teheran's breaking ball has significantly improved. All you need to do to see this is watch some film from the start against Toronto and watch the movement on the curve. Even if his fastball has lost a bit of life, the improved breaking ball should help to balance that out.
Teheran still projects as a front of the rotation arm, though he may not be a true ace. That's not anything to complain about since there are so few true aces in the game today. He could be ready for a permanent spot in the Braves rotation at any time now.