As the Atlanta Braves begin their 2014 quest for a World Series title, people are pretty confident that the pitching will be pretty good for the team. We can all assume that the top three men in the starting rotation will be Mike Minor, Kris Medlen and Julio Teheran. Minor has a good fastball and can be a good strikeout pitcher, and we all know Medlen is like a younger Greg Maddux with his two-seam fastball, but what about Teheran?
Is he ready to head toward the top of this rotation? The quick answer is yes. However, let me explain myself. In 2013, as the no. 4 guy behind Minor, Medlen and Tim Hudson, he made a name for himself among the other young pitchers in the league. He had a fastball that he can throw 90-94 mph, with a good changeup and curveball to go along with it.
Any control issues that came with him from the minor leagues left when he struck out 3.78 guys to every walk he gave up. He also averaged just over eight strikeouts per nine innings pitched. That just tells me he is around the zone and isn’t scared to let his defense do some of the work for him.
Two things I’d like to see from Teheran in 2014 is for him to keep his emotions in check just a little better and to limit the home runs. He did hit 13 batters last season, which was good for the second-most in the NL. Now, that’s not to say that he’s out there throwing at guys, but a few of those were most likely out of retaliation or to protect a teammate that had been hit earlier in the game.
He also gave up 22 home runs, which was good enough for ninth in the NL in home runs allowed. Batters are going to take him deep, but he needs to keep the fastball on the corners and out of the center of the plate.
If he can keep those extra guys off of the basepaths and continue to stay around the strike zone with all of his pitches, he will most certainly be a no. 1 or no. 2 starter by the end of the 2014 season. Barring a sophomore slump next year, I see him being a leader in this rotation for some years to come.