Julio Teheran: Looking at the Atlanta Braves Top Prospect's First Game

Will BrownContributor IMay 8, 2011

It was a simple one-game cameo for the 20-year-old, but it was also a glimpse of the future for Atlanta Braves fans.

Julio Teheran was, depending on who you ask, baseball's top pitching prospect or very close to it.

Teheran has drawn comparisons to Pedro Martinez for his slender body and repertoire, and it was on display for the first time at the major league level.

He was called up because the Braves didn't want to throw any pitchers on short rest due to the doubleheader Wednesday, so they called up the right-hander. He, so far, is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in AAA while holding opponents to just a .118 batting average.

Teheran's first career start came against the division-rival Philadelphia Phillies, and he showed flashes of why is so well thought of.

He ended up throwing a total of 86 pitches in 4.2+ innings of work. He gave up four hits, three runs and two walks, while striking out one batter.

It wasn't exactly a memorable first start, but he kept us in the game to that point and got no offense behind him.

First we'll start with the positives. Teheran was consistently hitting 93-95 with his fastball while touching 96 a few times that I noticed.

He possesses a good changeup that sat in the low 80s while throwing a few curveballs that shows flashes of being a very good pitch.

He also was calm despite facing a veteran lineup that has seen everything you can throw at them a couple of times.

As Fredi Gonzalez said, "I didn't see any deer-in-the-headlights look. It was nice to see. We thought this guy could handle it and be better for it. He did great."

He also threw a first-pitch strike to 13 of the 20 batters he faced (or 65 percent of time), which is a very good sign for things to come. He also threw 51 strikes out of the 86 pitches he threw (59 percent).

Some of the negatives were his two walks, but that hasn't been a problem in the minors and shouldn't be whenever he sticks at the major league level. He made a few mistakes and was hit pretty hard at times, particularly on Ryan Howard's home run.

He missed his location a few times, but again he's been dominant at the AAA level, so we have to give the Phillies some credit.

Overall it won't go down as an historic debut, but there are definitely some positives for the young pitches and Braves organization to focus on going forward.

It may not be his only appearance for the year, but I wouldn't be necessarily betting on him making too many more if the Braves manage to stay healthy.

He has a plus future ahead of him and enough "stuff" to become one of the best in the league.