The No. 1 prospect in the Atlanta Braves organization for years drew comparisons to Pedro Martinez as he ascended through the minors, which created huge hype and expectations for the young hurler from Colombia.
It was easy to see why scouts raved and why fans had such huge expectations for the young right-hander on Wednesday afternoon.
Julio Teheran threw 7.2 innings of no-hit, shut-out baseball before allowing a single to Brandon Inge. Teheran allowed just the one hit while striking out a career-high 11 batters on 107 pitches in the Braves’ 5-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 23-year-old looked unhittable at times in the near-historic performance. Teheran worked both sides of the plate effectively while mixing his pitches to keep Pirate hitters off balance. His four-seam fastball had zip. His slider and curveball had bite, and his two-seam fastball and changeup had movement. The excellent stuff combined with pinpoint control (79 strikes) led to an impressive outing.
Those impressive outings are becoming more of a norm than exaggeration for Teheran, who now boasts 4-2 record and season-low 3.30 ERA. He has posted six consecutive quality starts. He has set a career-high in strikeouts in his last two outings (nine against the Washington Nationals on May 31). He has allowed just one earned run or less in three of his last four starts, and two or less in four of his past five.
There’s a reason why no Braves pitcher has thrown a no-hitter since 1994. John Smoltz, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine never pulled off the feat. It takes a truly remarkable performance and some bounces to go your way.
I don’t know if Teheran will ever throw a no-hitter in his career or even come as close as he was on Wednesday afternoon. However, he looks to be blossoming into a future ace with plenty more special performances left in his right arm.