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May 6, 2011

Future Shock

Julio Teheran: One-Night Stand

by Kevin Goldstein

Despite my pleas for sanity, I continue to receive a deluge of “When will Player X be in the big leagues?” questions. Again, I certainly understand them, but I still don't know, and neither does anyone else. A great example of how the calendar plays into these decisions took place on Friday afternoon when the Braves announced that 20-year-old right-hander Julio Teheran, the best pitching prospect in baseball, would make his major-league debut on Saturday.

Let's get one thing out of the way: This is a one-and-done deal, created by a doubleheader and the Braves understandably not wanting to go with Tim Hudson on three days' rest when he is coming off of a complete game. A temporary opening was created in the Braves' rotation, and Teheran will get the call. The thing is, he's not getting the call purely because of performance, he's getting the call because it is Saturday. Yes, he's pitching well, but it is also his turn. Mike Minor has a 1.93 ERA in five starts, and if it was his turn (he started last night), the Braves would go with him. Veteran Rodrigo Lopez has a 1.57 ERA in five starts, and if it was his turn (he went Wednesday), Atlanta would have placed the call for him.

 

If Teheran throws a perfect game on Saturday in Philadelphia, he's heading back to Gwinnett. Tomorrow night's start is a reward for a job well done, and it should also be a fantastic learning experience, as he'll face a difficult opponent on the road.

 

In five starts this year for Triple-A Gwinnett, Teheran has a 1.80 ERA while allowing 25 hits over 30 innings, walking eight and striking out 25. After struggling with his command in an ugly second start, he has been a strike-throwing machine, walking two over 20 1/3 innings in his last three outings while averaging a highly efficient 13.3 pitches per frame.

 

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.'”

 

All that stuff is wrapped into a long-armed, six-foot-two, 175-pound frame with issue-free mechanics. “He works from the third-base side, which I love in a right-hander,” the scout said. “It's a compact, closed delivery with great arm action and a nice on-line finish.”

 

“There's power, there's touch and feel, and there's mound presence well beyond his 20 years,” the scout concluded. “He's going to be a number-one starter on a championship-level team.”

 If ever there was a time to be excited about a one-night-only show in baseball, it's tomorrow night.

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

49 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

tommybones

Looking forward to seeing him in action, after reading all the raves.

May 06, 2011 15:26 PM
rating: 0
 
antoine6

Lincecum struggled in his debut (also against the Phillies, incidentally). Same with Tommy Hanson. And King Felix. And I'm sure others I can't think of.

Point being, I'm sure Teheran is going to be a fantastic pitcher. But it would be pretty standard for him to struggle tomorrow night. He's 20 and being asked to face an experienced division rival on the road.

May 06, 2011 15:38 PM
rating: 0
 
okteds

Edwin Jackson had no problem in his debut facing Randy Johnson...if only all prospects could pan out from Day 1 like that...

May 06, 2011 19:19 PM
rating: 3
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Maybe we should start a pool for his line tomorrow.

I got 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K

May 06, 2011 15:58 PM
 
Tim Carvin

I'm going with 6.2 IP 5 H, 3 BB, 2 R, 7 K and let's throw in a double at the plate just for fun

May 06, 2011 16:03 PM
rating: 0
 
PWHjort

6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 8 K. Counting on the CH to neutralize the Phillies' LH-hitters.

May 06, 2011 16:03 PM
rating: 0
 
paulomac77

Tomorrow's predicted line for Teheran. 6 IP, 8 K, 1 W, 4 Hits 1 ER and the Win. 6-1 Braves!!!!

May 06, 2011 16:07 PM
rating: 0
 
Imperialism32

5 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts

May 06, 2011 16:12 PM
rating: 0
 
Matthew Avery

5.2IP 4R 5H 3BB 7K

May 06, 2011 16:13 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I think I'm as fascinated at the order people put the stats in as the predictions themselves.

May 06, 2011 16:16 PM
 
Matthew Avery

Interesting indeed. I changed the order after it was done to conform to what I perceive as a "more standard" order.

May 06, 2011 19:09 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

5 IP, 6 H, 3ER, 2BB, 4K

May 06, 2011 16:21 PM
 
bisanders
(329)

5 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 5 K

May 06, 2011 16:42 PM
rating: 0
 
Dave Holgado

Alright, I'll play the role of irrationally exuberant guy. This is in no way influenced by the fact that I own J.T. in my NL-only keeper league:

7.2 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K.

He's also going to plunk Victorino in the 1st. And when he retires to the clubhouse, he will enjoy a cold, refreshing Mexican Coke.

May 06, 2011 17:10 PM
rating: 0
 
PWHjort

But not a Colombian coke.

I'll show myself out...

May 07, 2011 15:52 PM
rating: 0
 
Dave Holgado

Oh, wait... this wasn't the Charlie Morton line prediction thread? My bad. :-)

May 07, 2011 17:48 PM
rating: 0
 
jwschaefer

5.2 2 H 2 ER 4BB 6K

May 06, 2011 17:11 PM
rating: 0
 
cordially
(917)

5.0IP 4ER 4H 3BB 4K

May 06, 2011 17:26 PM
rating: 0
 
hegglund

6.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 8 K.

May 06, 2011 17:37 PM
rating: 0
 
djardine

5IP 5ER 7H 3BB 5K

May 06, 2011 17:53 PM
rating: 0
 
EricJ

5.2 IP 0 ER 2 hits 4 BB's 6 K's

May 06, 2011 19:11 PM
rating: 0
 
RaymondV

I'm curious about the idea that Teheran is sure to struggle. I vividly remember Smoltz's debut in 1988 against the Strawberry-era Mets.
8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, but, oddly, only 2 strikeouts.

May 06, 2011 19:28 PM
rating: 0
 
JamesP469

6.1IP 3ER 1HR 6H 3BB 5K

May 06, 2011 19:29 PM
rating: 0
 
NYYanks826

6.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K

Surprisingly, Raul Ibanez will have 2 hits and 2 RBI.

May 06, 2011 20:04 PM
rating: 0
 
dianagram

5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 K

May 06, 2011 20:33 PM
rating: 1
 
mrdannyg

6.2, 4H, 2R (1ER), 3BB (1 intentional), 7K, 1 WP. 0/2 at the plate with a K and a failed sacrifice/fielder's choice.

May 06, 2011 20:37 PM
rating: 0
 
pobothecat

could you be more specific?

May 07, 2011 10:32 AM
rating: 0
 
mrdannyg

Not sure if the strikeout will be swinging or looking. I'll have to consult the crystal ball.

May 07, 2011 12:03 PM
rating: 0
 
smoothjazz

6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

Any chance he gets an extra start or two with Lowe getting hurt tonight?

May 06, 2011 20:44 PM
rating: 1
 
vourtsis

5 1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K

May 06, 2011 20:53 PM
rating: 0
 
LaserShow

6.0 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 5 Ks

May 06, 2011 22:32 PM
rating: 0
 
BobbyRoberto
(907)

6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K

May 06, 2011 23:09 PM
rating: 0
 
AaronSF

6 IP, 5 H, 2ER, 2BB, 7K

May 07, 2011 03:43 AM
rating: 0
 
R.A.Wagman

5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6K. Tough luck, but K's should be promising.

May 07, 2011 07:00 AM
rating: 0
 
Greg Ioannou

I'm surprised that no-one's mentioned Roy Halladay. In his second game, he came within one out of a no-hitter. But that first game was five innings, three runs allowed.

May 07, 2011 08:10 AM
rating: 0
 
ootpbb

4 IP, 7H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 4K.. I think he'll struggle in Philly, despite being a Braves fan myself.

May 07, 2011 08:16 AM
rating: 0
 
pobothecat

7.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 5 BB, 9 K

May 07, 2011 10:31 AM
rating: 0
 
Joe D.

3.1 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K

May 07, 2011 10:58 AM
rating: 0
 
BPKevin

4.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR

May 07, 2011 12:20 PM
rating: 0
 
hyprvypr

2.1 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 K's. Homer for Victorino.

May 07, 2011 13:52 PM
rating: 0
 
BobbyRoberto
(907)

Using the "wisdom of the crowds" approach, I totaled all the predictions above. There are 30 predictions, producing this total:

170.3 IP, 149 H, 74 ER, 79 BB, 166 K

That's a 3.91 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 8.8 K/9, and 4.2 BB/9

*Raymond V didn't have anything listed for walks, so I put down 0 for his prediction.

May 07, 2011 15:32 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Wow, thanks for doing that!

May 07, 2011 15:51 PM
 
antoine6

I can see him getting Ks. But I'd be surprised if he went deep into the game. Young starters in their debut are usually pulled pretty quickly. Even Strasburg was only allowed to go 7, and that was maybe the best debut in history.

5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.

May 07, 2011 15:56 PM
rating: 0
 
antoine6

Rollins shows Teheran that major-league hitters are a little different.

May 07, 2011 16:14 PM
rating: -1
 
Joe D.

Completely agreed, antoine. Teheran came in having never given up a hit in his career to anybody at any level, if I recall correctly.

May 07, 2011 16:51 PM
rating: 2
 
BobbyRoberto
(907)

Game on, final combined projection from 31 people:

175.3 IP, 155 H, 77 ER, 81 BB, 172 K

3.95 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 8.8 K/9, 4.2 BB/9


May 07, 2011 16:16 PM
rating: 2
 
BobbyRoberto
(907)

And Teheran's final line:

4 2/3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

5.79 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 1.9 K/9, 3.9 BB/9

May 07, 2011 18:14 PM
rating: 0
 
BelongstotheReds

He's a bust!

May 08, 2011 06:46 AM
rating: 3
 
PWHjort

Traid him

May 08, 2011 18:17 PM
rating: 2
 
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