The Atlanta Braves suffered their first loss of the season against the Miami Marlins last night. They look to rebound tonight in a quick two game series. Left-hander, Mike Minor, was roughed up for the fourth consecutive start and fifth time in eight starts this year. He has given up 27 runs in his last 20 2/3 innings. What is frightening is that he has given up six or more runs in 5 out of 8 starts this season. The issue for Minor is not talent. He is talented and he has shown glimpses of the successful pitcher that he could possibly be. As good as he has been at times, when he is bad…he is nothing more than serving up batting practice.
There has been some bloggers and sports’ writers say that the Braves “need” Minor and that their options are “limited.” This is ridiculous. They have the solution to the problem. His name is Julio Teheran.
I understand that Minor gives the Braves something that they do not have: a left-handed starter. It would be nice to have a lefty in the rotation, no doubt. The reality is that a left-handed starter does not ensure success. A quality pitcher is better than throwing out a warm-body lefty starter.
Take Kris Medlen as an example. I know that he is not in the rotation, or even being considered for a spot. The Braves are being extremely cautious with him. He missed almost all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery. He has been a solid pitcher out of the Braves’ bullpen. His numbers against lefties have been much better than righties thus far. Left-handed batters are 6/40 for a stat line of .167/.250/.200 against Medlen. Right-handed hitters are 12/47 for a line of .267/.298/.277 against him this year. The reason I use him is to show that right-handed pitchers can be successful against left-handed hitters.
The possibility of moving Medlen into the rotation should be considered. He has been outstanding in that role before. However, the Braves’ caution with Medlen will undoubtedly prevent that from happening.
The Braves have more than just this one option. They should call up their top pitching prospect, Julio Teheran, and give him the opportunity. He started three games last season. The Braves gave more starts to Randall Delgado last year. Delgado “beat out” Teheran in Spring Training for the 5th spot in the Braves’ rotation and has been superb so far this year. Teheran went to AAA and had a rough start to begin the year. He has rebounded nicely and has lowered his ERA to 2.48 on the season.
In five of his seven starts so far, he has given up 1 earned run or less. Overall, he has a 2.48 ERA, a 1.19 WHIP, .235 BAA, 27 Ks to 12 BBs in 32.2 IP. Left-handed hitters are hitting .233 against him while right-handed hitters are hitting .236 across equal amounts of IP.
Last year, Teheran sported a 2.55 ERA across 144.2 IP while limiting opponents to a .232 BAA. He won the league rookie of the year and the league’s most outstanding pitcher award.
He has been tasked with improving his command and his maturity. He has made significant strides. He has only 2 BB over his last 16 IP.
He is the Braves’ top pitching prospect. All of the scouts and talent evaluators have been high on him. The Braves should give him a shot before anyone else. They need to get better quality out of their 5th spot in the rotation than Minor has been giving. All Teheran really needs is for the team to give him a shot. They may realize what all of the scouts believe they have in Teheran. He could be a huge lift for the team moving forward.