As the Atlanta Braves signed veteran pitcher Aaron Harang to a one-year contract for the 2014 season, the team is confident that their rotation can withstand the month and a half until Mike Minor and new signee Ervin Santana join the rotation.
What the team may not realize is that the top two spots of the rotation may be set for quite some time. All Julio Teheran and Alex Wood have done since they joined the Braves is impress people left and right. For Teheran, it may have been his extremely impressive rookie season, and many see good in Wood’s funky delivery from the left-hand side of the mound.
Teheran showed the league in 2013 that he was bound for stardom in the major leagues. He backed up a 14 win 2013 campaign with a very impressive spring. In the five games he pitched, he only gave up three total runs while striking out 17 batters, holding an ERA of 1.42.
With that, I expect Teheran to be just as good, if not better, than he was in 2013. For 2014, I fully expect Teheran to win at least 15 games for the Braves and hold an ERA around the 3.00 mark. Also, he has the ability to strikeout more than the 170 batters that he did last season; he has the potential to go on closer to the 200 strikeout mark and really make an impression upon the NL.
Wood is a different story for the Braves. He did pitch 77.2 innings in his first action as an MLB player. In those 31 games, he made only 11 starts, but the team had plans to make him a starting pitcher in the next season or two. That time is coming quite soon, with Wood probably being the No. 2 starter in the Braves’ rotation to begin the season.
In 2013, Wood struck out 77 batters, giving up 27 earned runs. However, with more experience under his belt, I expect his strikeout-to-walk ratio to climb to a little over three. His ERA of 3.13 will most likely end up around 3.50 after this season, but that would be huge for a kid who is entering his first full season as a major league starting pitcher.
When Santana and Minor return to the rotation, I expect them to make large contributions to the team, but I really see Teheran to hold his spot on top of this rotation and Wood to make his way to being the second best starter on this team going into 2015.