It’s been fairly well advertised among Atlanta Braves world that Julio Teheran is trying to finally lock down the fifth spot in the starting rotation. He has been the heir apparent to that position for the better part of the last few years. Last season all of that went from being a sure thing to suddenly completely up in the air after he had a horrible triple-A season. He came to spring training planning to prove he was better for the down year.
Just a couple of months prior to coming to Spring Training, the fifth starter spot was up for grabs. It could have been either Teheran or Randall Delgado, both of whom have some major league experience. With the season that Teheran had last year it looked like maybe Delgado was in the driver’s seat to win the position until he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Justin Upton trade.
Then all eyes turned to Teheran to see if he could right the ship and get back to the pitcher he was before the struggles of last season. He has shown this preseason that he isn’t the pitcher he was before and isn’t the pitcher that struggled last year. Instead he is a new man altogether. He is a young pitcher that knows he isn’t going to be able to rely on nasty stuff all the time. Teheran knows what it is to struggle. He went through it and has come out the other side a much better pitcher.
Whereas before it might rattle him to get in a jam, now he can think to that season at triple-A and know that things can be worse if he doesn’t keep his pitches down and sharp. All that should mean a better debut for him being full time in the fifth starter position. Teheran kept the Detroit Tigers at bay for four innings including getting five strikeouts. He isn’t back, he’s better than ever. But even he knows now that nothing is handed to him. He is a better pitcher but still has to go make the pitches.