Alrighty, boys and girls! Did anyone catch the Futures game on Sunday night? I had to tune in and watch some of the future Braves' arms pitch. For those who were unaware, on Sunday night, Braves RHP prospect Julio Teheran (Myrtle Beach Pelican) and LHP prospect Mike Minor (Gwinnett Braves) pitched for the World and U.S. teams, respectively.
Both were very impressive. The World team got lit up, allowing nine runs across the board, but that was no fault of Teheran! He pitched a scoreless inning in relief, even striking out top Tampa Bay prospect Desmond Jennings on a 96mph fastball looking. Bryan Smith over at FanGraphs.com said this about the best fastballs he saw that day:
“Julio Teheran and Tanner Scheppers. I’m breaking order of appearance here to include Sheppers, but it seems apt to tie them together. Both have big and easy velocity, and both were impressive, but neither had control today.”
Also, Frankie Piliere, a National MLB Analyst from FanHouse.com said this as well: “Julio Teheran, RHP, Braves: Teheran might be the best pitching prospect in the minors right now. He did nothing on Sunday to change that perception. The wiry right-hander was at 92-96 mph with his fastball, and showed a good secondary mix with his changeup and breaking ball.”
Teheran was a bit wild, as he walked two, but I can only imagine being a 19-year old, playing on national television for the first time, and in front of his father and brother, who came up from Columbia to watch him pitch. But he buckled down and did not allow those walks to come back and haunt him.
Jim Callis, a writer over at Baseball America, said this about Teheran as well: “Though Braves right hander Julio Teheran struggled with his location, he didn't throw a fastball under 95 mph, used his changeup for strikes and froze Desmond Jennings (Rays ) with a 96-mph heater for a strikeout.”
Now we turn over at last year’s number-one pick for the Braves and seventh overall, Mike Minor. Minor came in for the fourth inning and did not disappointment. His rise in the minor leagues has been noted has he scorched through the Double A affiliates, racking up 109 K’s in the process and now has been very impressive in his two starts for Gwinnett, going 2-0, 12.2 IP, with a 15/5 K:BB. Opponents are only hitting .178 against him. His ERA for the Mississippi team was a bit high at 4.03, but that’s Minor adjusting to pitching to wooden bats and learning to pitch differently after ditching his curveball (which has given him a different arm angle and more zip on his fastball).
Jim Callis also mentions Minor in his article discussing the Futures Game: “Nine U.S. pitchers combined to blank the World for seven innings after Hellickson departed, with Zach Britton (Orioles ) and Mike Minor (Braves) among the most impressive. Britton has the best sinker in the minors, and he also showed a 95-96 mph four-seam fastball. Minor worked a perfect fourth, touching 94 mph with his fastball and using his slider and changeup to record all three outs.”
Razzball has a good scouting report on Minor of his recent outings. It’s worth a read if you’re interested in all things Braves (http://razzball.com/mike-minor-and-mike-trout-scouting-the-unknown/ ).
All in all it, was a very good showing for the Atlanta Braves at the MLB Futures Game. Granted we did not have any hitters in the game, but it’s not very often teams have both a great hitter and great pitcher playing in this game (unless you’re the Tampa Bay Rays). Still, Freeman is tearing it up at the plate now in Triple A and we got to keep in mind that he is only 20-years old playing in a much more advanced league. I say the future looks very, very bright for the Atlanta Braves and I really do not want to hear anymore talks of this foolish Corey Hart for Mike Minor business. If that were the case I would ask for more than Corey Hart for a good looking left-handed pitcher like Minor.
Hart is having a career year and I don’t trust he can sustain the homer pace he’s on and would rip my hair out when he goes back to the Jeff Francoeur in sheep’s clothing that he is. Please, keep these arms. Only trade if we get a sure-fire run producer, not lighting in a bottle.