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June 6, 2013

Painting the Black

Julio Teheran's Arrival

by R.J. Anderson


On Wednesday afternoon Julio Teheran grabbed the baseball world's attention, just as his prospect days had hinted he someday might. He flirted with a no-hitter through 7 2/3 innings but, after a Brandon Inge single, settled for eight one-hit, no-run innings.

The performance continued a string of good performances from the young righty. Teheran entered the game with five consecutive quality starts and three straight outings that lasted into the seventh inning. Both streaks continued. Teheran also fanned a career-high number of batters for the second consecutive start. True, the 11 batters that the Colombian native fanned were Pirates—ranked 22nd in True Average at first pitch—and his recent performances came against the Nationals, Mets, and Twins—lineups also ranked in the bottom-half of the league. But the signs of encouragement extend beyond Wednesday's stat line.

Some history is required to appreciate Teheran's progress. In March Jason Parks described Teheran's fastball and changeup as plus pitches, and noted his troubles with fastball command and breaking ball consistency. Still Teheran's pluses outweighed his cons, and Parks pegged him as a potential no. 2 or 3 starter with moderate risk. An impressive spring gave the hype machine new life. Alas, it was short-lived. The optimism turned into disappointment once the season started and Teheran struggled in April.

Poor results turned into poor feedback from those in the know. Peter Gammons reported during Teheran's second start that two talent evaluators called him "Juan Cruz Redux." Teheran's outlook had shifted within an 18-month period from chatter about his place as a future ace to comparisons to journeymen middle relievers. Some of the struggles were predictable. The weaknesses Parks identified showed up early and often. Nobody expected Teheran's changeup to disappear from his arsenal, however.

Over the season's first month Teheran's chang

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (06/06)
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Premium Article Painting the Black: On... (06/05)
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Painting the Black: Sw... (06/11)
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Draft Coverage (06/06)

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