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Julio Teheran remains a top prospect despite his 2012 struggles.
Given Beachy's injury, opportunity is once again knocking at the door of highly regarded right-hander Julio Teheran. One look at the Braves' depth chart proves it.
Baseball America has ranked Teheran among the top prospects in the game in 2011 and 2012. This year marks the third straight season that he tops the publication's list of Braves prospects.
With his name appearing with the likes of Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and Matt Moore, the expectations for Teheran's success were built in.
He got a taste of the big leagues in 2011 after finishing with an impressive 15-3 record and a 2.55 ERA in 144.2 innings of work at Triple-A Gwinnett.
The stage was set, but the spring of 2012 was nothing short of disastrous for Teheran. He struggled mightily and never got on track after being sent back to Triple-A. His final numbers there included a 7-9 record with a 5.08 ERA in 131 innings.
More disturbing was the spike in the number of home runs allowed by the 21-year-old. He served up nine homers in just five appearances last spring, including six in one outing. His Grapefruit League struggles carried over to his International League performance, where he allowed 18 more long balls in 26 starts with Gwinnett.
Keep in mind, Teheran had given up just 20 total home runs in his first 383.2 professional innings.
Coming off a solid winter ball showing in the Dominican Republic, Teheran spoke with David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after reporting to camp:
“I feel like I have more confidence,” said Teheran, who allowed just two hits in 16-2/3 scoreless innings over his final three winter-ball starts, to finish 2-1 with a 3.23 ERA in seven starts for Licey. “I know I have to work hard to be the fifth starter, but in my mind, just work hard and I’ll be there.”
With Randall Delgado now in Arizona, Teheran is the favorite to land the fifth starter spot. There is always the possibility that a dark-horse candidate may emerge to challenge him, however. Lefty Sean Gilmartin will get a look, but the 2011 first-round pick has just seven starts above Double-A.
This could be a make-or-break season for the talented but, as of yet, unproven Teheran.