Atlanta Braves: Julio Teheran Could Be Best Pitcher in NL

By Jacob Dennis
Julio Teheran Atlanta Braves
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Ace Julio Teheran of the Atlanta Braves has been nearly untouchable through the first half of the 2014 regular season, and the Colombian pitcher didn’t disappoint Tuesday night turning in another dominating performance against the New York Mets.

With his stellar outing, Teheran now owns an ERA south of 2.30 with 108 strikeouts. These numbers are easily good enough to justify the assertions of those who dub him the best pitcher in the NL, and the argument for Teheran will only get stronger as the young pitcher improves.

Atlanta’s top pitcher walked only three batters the entire month of June, compiling 38 strikeouts and winning two games. Teheran’s 0.95 WHIP trails only Adam Wainwright and Johnny Cueto among NL starters, and the Braves’ righty has allowed a league-low 11 doubles.

Despite his great numbers, the majority of baseball analysts have been skeptical to include him in the discussions of the elite arms in the NL. The same analysts, for example, include (and rightly so) Zack Greinke, who has given up more hits and runs than Teheran, and whose ERA is higher. Teheran is only 23 and has already proven his durability, becoming a reliable arm in an Atlanta pitching staff decimated with injuries to key players.

He has already pitched 126 innings this season and leads all Braves starters with eight wins. Teheran will be great for years to come, and it’s time that the entire baseball world recognizes the fact.

During a broadcast Wednesday night, former Atlanta standout John Smoltz called Teheran “an All-Star. Period.” Smoltz, who was responding to the possibility that Teheran might not make the trip to Minneapolis for the All-Star Game this season, expressed his disdain for the way the current voting system works.

In many ways, Smoltz is right. The All-Star Game has transformed into a mere popularity contest, with players who are injured or not performing well being voted in over young talent. If Teheran is left off the team this year, the validity of the current voting system should be in serious question.

Teheran is more than just another player who should be a 2014 All-Star. He’s the face of a young wave of pitching talent that will dominate major league batters for years to come. And if he isn’t the best pitcher in the NL, the time when he will be recognized as such isn’t very far away.

Jacob Dennis is an ACC Basketball writer at Follow him on twitter @jakeyd_8, “Like” him on Facebook, and add him to your network on Google.

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