After 9 seasons with the Atlanta Braves, Julio Teheran will move on after signing a deal to join the Los Angles Angels. Teheran never quite lived up to the heights of his projected expectations, but Julio Teheran’s tenure in Atlanta will not be easy to forget.
Julio Teheran’s career with the Atlanta Braves started in 2007 when Teheran was just 16 years old. Teheran would start pitching in the Braves minor league system the next year. From that point, Teheran would work his way up through the different levels on the minor leagues until eventually, in 2011, Teheran was named the top prospect by Baseball America. Julio Teheran would make his major league debut in May 2011.
In 2011, before Julio Teheran ever made his debut, the expectations were sky-high for him. Being 20 at the time, Teheran had special stuff that projected to get better with age. One knock on him, that would later prove to be the bane of his career, was his control issues. With that said, Teheran was expected to be the ace of the Braves staff going through the decade. While it didn’t go that well for Teheran, he proved to be a good pitcher in his nine seasons with the Braves.
Teheran was up and down his first two seasons, 2011 and 2012, with the Braves. It was 2013 when Teheran completed his first full season, making 30 starts for the Braves that season. Teheran would finish the year 14-8 with a 3.20 ERA while pitching 185 innings. It looked like Teheran was going to live up to his lofty expectations.
It was the next year, in 2014, that saw Julio Teheran take another step in his career. Despite his record being worse, 14-13, Teheran finished the year with a sub-three ERA at 2.89. Teheran pitched 221 innings and 186 strikeouts, both his season-best to this date. Teheran was also named to the All-Star game that season. The hype around Teheran was palpable.
Unfortunately, for Julio and the Braves, Teheran was never able to build off of his excellent first two seasons. Teheran had successful seasons, making one more All-Star game in 2016, but his strikeouts and ERA never were as low as they were in his 2014 season. Some of that is due to the Braves bottoming out in the middle of the decade so Teheran was pitching on some pretty putrid teams. However, Teheran never was able to recapture the heights he reached in 2013 and 2014.
The one thing Teheran will be always be remembered for will be his streak of Opening Day starts, which was six in a row. Teheran tied Warren Spahn for the most Opening Day starts in Braves history. It’s an indicator of where the Braves were as a franchise and how they’ve treated their starting rotation, choosing to not sign or trade for a real-deal ace in the 2010s. With that said, it’s also an indication of the expectations of Teheran and how good he was when the streak started in 2014.
Now, after nine seasons, Julio Teheran will pitch elsewhere next season for the first time in his career. Teheran has only known Atlanta as his home so I’m assuming it’s got to be a bittersweet feeling for him now as he gets ready to move his life all the away across the country. Teheran will likely be remembered as a disappointment or punchline/trivia answer when it comes to his Opening Day start streak. Teheran was never the pitcher the Braves expected him to be, but that’s okay. Teheran was a good, serviceable pitcher for the Braves during his time in Atlanta. I wish Julio Teheran the best of luck as he gets ready for next season.