The Atlanta Braves have called up 20-year-old phenom pitching prospect Julio Teheran to make a spot start tonight against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Teheran was rated the No. 5 prospect by Baseball America coming into the 2011 season and is widely regarded as the top pitching prospect in the minor leagues.
His minor league track record speaks for itself. He's shown outstanding command at all three levels, with a 3.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio, while averaging a strikeout per inning (9.0 K/9). Here's something else to drool over from a scout via Future Shock: Julio Teheran: One-Night Stand by Kevin Goldstein:
A scout currently in his fourth decade of evaluating players was gushing over Teheran today. “I've never put a higher grade on a 20-year-old pitcher in my career.” Going deeper into Teheran's arsenal explains why. “He was 92-96 for me while averaging 95, and the pitch is hitter-untrackable, as he hides his arm behind his back and it explodes on hitters. That combination of arm velocity and deceptive velocity is a rare and beautiful thing.”
The secondary offerings earn nearly as much praise. “It's an average curveball right now, but I put a projectable 60 on it,” the scout continued. “While the changeup is a present 60 than could end up a 70 down the road. On my scouting report, under weaknesses, I simply put, 'no glaring weaknesses.' (full credit for quote belongs to Kevin Goldstein)
However, even if Teheran throws a no-hitter, he's going back to AAA Gwinnett after the game. The Braves simply do not have a rotation spot available to him at this time, and rightfully so. Atlanta's rotation currently boasts a 2.97 ERA. There's nothing wrong with that, folks.
It's just pure happenstance that Teheran is even making his debut tonight, because it also happens to be his turn in the rotation (at Gwinnett), making him the logical choice. A spot opened up in the rotation from the doubleheader with the Brewers earlier in the week, and you can't blame the Braves for not wanting to throw Tim Hudson on three days rest.
It will be an incredible learning experience for Teheran, because he's not facing some run of the mill team. It's the defending NL East Champions under the lights in Philadelphia. He will gain invaluable nuggets to take back with him to AAA and build on.
He will certainly be a mainstay for the Braves rotation in the years to come, but 2011 is not his year barring an injury or performance issues in the big league rotation. Until further notice, enjoy the show tonight starting at 6:05 PM CDT.
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