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Julio Teheran Makes Debut for the Atlanta Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Julio Teheran #66 of the Atlanta Braves during Photo Day at  Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports of Complex on February 21, 2011 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIMay 9, 2011

The most anticipated major-league pitching debut of the season took place on Saturday night in Philadelphia. Twenty-year-old Julio Teheran made his major-league debut for the Atlanta Braves against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The debut for Teheran didn’t go quite as planned, as he lasted only 4.2 innings. He allowed four hits, three runs and two walks and struck out one during the 86-pitch effort.

What did Teheran in was his inability to establish his fastball early in the count. Teheran fell behind a lot of the Phillie batters early in the game. He wasn’t able to spot his fastball, which was in the 92-94 mph range all night, early in the count, and in turn the Phillies laid off his changeup.

The one thing that stood out to me during the course of Teheran’s appearance was how comfortable the Phillie hitters looked in the batter's box. They were all over his fastball and never flinched at his changeup.

How a hitter takes a pitch tells you a lot about how they feel in the batter’s box. The Phillie batters took pitches against Teheran as if they had faced him 100 times before or he was tipping his pitches and they knew what was coming. He didn’t fool anyone.

It wasn’t all bad for Teheran. His third pitch is his curve, and I thought it was a plus pitch for him on Saturday night. I had him throwing eight curves (PitchFX had him at nine), and he probably should have thrown more. He snapped off a wicked curve to Ryan Howard in the first that was a thing of beauty.

However, Howard did get some payback when he hit a tape-measure HR in the fourth.

His only K of the night was when he struck out Raul Ibanez looking in the fourth on a changeup that acted like the two-seam fastball that Greg Maddux made famous. That’s the pitch for Teheran. If he can establish that pitch on a consistent basis to lefties, then watch out.

Teheran is going to be a solid major-league pitcher. He has three pitches, and once he can establish his fastball at the major-league level, he is going to be tough to hit.

Here are some other things you should know about Julio Teheran...

Age: 20

Throws: Right

College: None

Drafted: Not drafted. Signed as a amateur free agent in 2007 out of Cartagena, Colombia

Minor-League Stats

Year Lev ERA GS IP H R ER HR WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2008Rk6.60615.018121121.46710.81.22.410.24.25
2009Rk-A3.651481.178373341.1808.60.42.07.43.72
2009Rk2.68743.236171320.9857.40.41.48.05.57
2009A4.78737.242202021.40710.00.52.66.72.55
2010A+-AA-A2.5924142.2108454191.0376.80.62.510.03.98
2010A1.14739.1238510.8395.30.22.310.34.50
2010A+2.981063.156222161.0898.00.91.810.85.85
2010AA3.38740.029151521.1506.50.43.88.62.24
2011AAA1.80530.0259601.1007.50.02.47.53.13
4 Seasons 3.0449269.022910391151.1127.70.52.39.03.83
A (2 seasons)A2.921477.065282531.1177.60.42.58.53.48
Rk (2 seasons)Rk3.681358.254292441.1088.30.61.78.65.09
AA (1 season)AA3.38740.029151521.1506.50.43.88.62.24
AAA (1 season)AAA1.80530.0259601.1007.50.02.47.53.13
A+ (1 season)A+2.981063.156222161.0898.00.91.810.85.85
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/9/2011.

Keith Law Ranking and Analysis

Ranking: No. 6 out of 100 prospects in baseball for 2011

Analysis: “Signed out of Colombia for $850,000 in 2007, Teheran is already making that figure look like a bargain, establishing himself not just as a future No. 1 starter but as the best pitching prospect in baseball.

Teheran has a loose arm and easy velocity, pitching at 92-95 mph but touching higher than that with a plus changeup with good fade and tailing action in the low 80s. His curveball remains his third pitch, with a vertical break but soft rotation, and the pitch can get a little sloppy at times. Teheran’s arm action is a bit long but otherwise is easy and repeatable; he takes a long stride to the plate and pronates his elbow nice and early. The breaking ball still needs some work — or he might switch to a slider eventually — but that fastball/changeup combo with that arm and a body that’s still projectable make him a potential ace.”

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