October 6, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran (49) returns to the dugout after the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game three of the National League divisional series playoff baseball game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
We’ve known this was going to happen ever since the injuries to Kris Medlen and Mike Minor became apparent, but today the Atlanta Braves announced that Julio Teheran would be the club’s Opening Day starter on March 31 in Milwaukee.
After being drafted by the Braves way back in 2007, Teheran was long considered the best prospect in Atlanta’s farm system and consistently ranked as one of the top prospects in baseball while he worked his way up through the minor leagues. While the path he’s taken to reach No. 1 starter status hasn’t been the path most would have expected, he’s here now.
Teheran’s first full season last year was pretty good, and if he can improve upon that with another full season this year, he’s primed to become one of the best young pitchers in all of baseball. In 30 starts in 2013, Teheran put up some pretty awesome numbers. He struck out 8.24 per nine innings, walked just 2.18 per nine and also put up a 3.20 ERA. He went 14-8 and held batters to a .242 batting average and finished the year with a 1.17 WHIP.
While the reason for Teheran being the club’s No. 1 starter isn’t that great, he’s definitely got the ability and stuff to excel in this new role. So far in spring training he’s thrown 19 innings and held batters to a .194 average while striking out 17, walking just three and allowing 13 hits (0.84 WHIP).
In the first year of his new six-year contract, look for Julio Teheran to open some eyes outside of Braves country, and maybe even cause a few double-takes from the tomahawk faithful.