Julio Teheran

With the exception of Andrelton Simmons, Julio Teheran is the most important player in the Braves organization. Thanks to a winter spending spree, the Braves have both locked up through 2020 (in Teheran’s case, it’s a club option).

After spending the better part of a decade on prospect lists, Julio Teheran was very, very good in 2013. But you probably don’t realize quite how good. Here is a complete list of all of the times that a pitcher age 22 or younger qualified for the ERA title with an ERA+ of 110 or higher plus a K/BB over 3.5:

1Julio Teheran20133.201213.78185.2
2Mat Latos20102.921263.78184.2
3Mark Prior20032.431794.90211.1
4Dwight Gooden19851.532293.88276.2
5Bret Saberhagen19852.871434.16235.1
6Dwight Gooden19842.601373.78218
7Dennis Eckersley19773.531123.54247.1
8Frank Tanana19762.431363.58288.1
9Frank Tanana19752.621353.68257.1
10Bert Blyleven19732.521563.85325
11Bert Blyleven19712.811263.80278.1
12Walter Johnson19101.361834.12370

That’s nine pitchers in the history of baseball, and three of them are Hall of Famers. Only one of them was an outright bust, Prior. Tanana, Saberhagen, and Gooden had long careers — between them, they won a combined 601 games — though they had most of their success before their 26th birthday. And Mat Latos is one of the better young pitchers in baseball. Julio Teheran’s K/BB is elite, and while that’s not the only thing a pitcher needs in order to excel — hi, Ricky Nolasco! — it sure helps.

Of course, he’s 23. There are still a few areas for improvement. Like a lot of fastball pitchers, he’s a flyball pitcher — his groundball rate last year was just 37.8 percent — which leaves him vulnerable to home runs. He gave up 1.07 homers per nine innings last year, and that HR/9 is likely to remain above 1.0. That said, home runs are less of a problem when you can keep people off the basepaths, and that’s why his exceptional K/BB is so important.

His shiny 3.20 ERA was also aided by a better-than-average strand rate (also known as LOB%) — 80.9% of runners who reached base on him failed to score, which is slightly higher than the Braves’ overall team rate of 77% and much higher than the league average last year of 73.5% last year. Part of that elevated strand rate comes from the Braves’ exceptional defense, anchored by Andrelton Simmons, turning potential RBIs into outs. And part of it is that Teheran’s a very good pitcher, and better pitchers tend to strand more baserunners.

But pitchers aren’t typically able to sustain 80% strand rates. Since 2010, the MLB strand rate leader has been Jered Weaver, who has stranded 79% of men to reach base against him. Second place is Clayton Kershaw at 78.2%, and third place is Cole Hamels at 77.8%. So even if the Braves defense holds strong and Teheran continues to pitch well, Teheran’s likely to allow a few more baserunners to score this year than he did last year.

Since they own his rights for the next seven years, the Braves are certain to take very good care of him and his right arm. As long as he stays healthy, he’s going to anchor Braves rotations for a very long time.

30 thoughts on “Julio Teheran”

  1. Back to Trout:

    First of all, the thought of one win being worth $5-6 million is absurd to me. I get that the market does not care what I think, and I don’t really have a counterargument for what I think one win should be worth at the moment, but $5-6 million for one win is drastically overpriced. So that’s the first thing.

    Secondly, pretty much everyone agrees that Cabrera’s contract is absurd and was the result of the Tigers bidding against themselves for absolutely no reason. So why are we expecting the Angels to have done the same thing? Trout’s contract is very reasonable for both sides. Cabrera’s was not. I get that this is partially about the silly Trout vs. Cabrera thing (I almost hope that Trout never wins an MVP so that I don’t have to deal with the ridiculous sabermetricians’ touchdown dance that would be sure to follow), but people should come off that, in my opinion.

    Back to the basketball game last night for a minute:

    I wouldn’t say we were screwed. The call at the end was complete BS (he was already falling backwards when Stokes made the feather-soft half contact…and his feet weren’t set anyway), but: 1)Looking at the play later, the ball didn’t actually go out of bounds. If the proper no-call had happened, the Michigan guy who stripped Stokes just before the non-charge would have gotten possession of the ball; and 2)That ball pretty clearly went out of bounds off of Maymon a couple minutes earlier, and had we not gotten that call, we probably wouldn’t have had much of a chance to win in the end-game. It sucks, certainly, but it’s difficult to say we were robbed.

    Oh well, now it’s time to sit back and watch our brain-dead fanbase probably succeed in running Cuonzo Martin off over the offseason so that we can hire the proven coach that will clearly happily come to Knoxville after watching us run off a coach that just equaled everyone’s hero Bruce Pearl’s standard for a good season out of a freaking 11 seed. (“But…but…clearly the fact that we lost to Texas A&M twice is more important than the fact that we made the Sweet 16!!!” says the idiotic standard Tennessee fan who applies college football logic to every single sport he watches.)

  2. Now lefty Ian Thomas, who’s spot was only cemented after Gearrin went down, gets nailed in the hip with a line drive, and is coming out of the game.

  3. The dollar delta between what Trout could have gotten by waiting it out and what the Angels paid seems like a not unreasonable valuation of the risk of injury or suboptimal performance.

    //He also got a full no-trade, which is not without value.

  4. A full no-trade really is valuable in his case. I feel like tradeability is over-looked perk for clubs in these kinds of deals. Attaching cost certainty to a guy like a Craig Kimbrel is great for the Braves financial viability, but it also makes him MUCH more tradeable. If Mike Trout got a full no-trade, then not only does that negate that portion of value for the team, it basically becomes an op-out for him. If the team should ever want to trade him, he gets the chance to negotiate a whole new free-agent type deal for himself in exchange for accepting the trade. Those two sides of that coin, what it costs the Angels and what it gives to him, are definitely not insignificant.

  5. The guys on that list not in the HOF who are eligible (Tanana, Gooden, Saberhagen, Prior) also all suffered from serious arm injuries. So if you want to jump to conclusions you can say Teheran’s on a HOF path if he can just stay healthy!

  6. Don’t know if The Flying Bernard is still reading/posting here, but his UMass-Lowell River Hawks are playing BC today to get a ticket to the Frozen Four today. Yale, The Official College Hockey Team of Braves Journal, didn’t have the season they had last year, and have returned to class, some of them for the first time this semester. So we’re rooting for the River Hawks today.

    (By the way, I just found out that there are two loser tournaments in basketball, and Yale is in the semis of one of them, the CIT. Who knew?)

  7. SI lists Chris Johnson’s crazy good year as a reason the Braves will be worse. It also lists Uggla and Upton’s crazy bad years as reasons the Braves will be worse.

    I’m also a bit thrown by the article asking if the Nationals will go to the WS this year, as if last year put them a step closer.

  8. I missed the full no-trade in the Trout deal. That’s very interesting. Teams hate giving those out.

    It’s not Mark Prior’s fault that he busted, but he pitched 657 innings in his entire career. He was an injury bust.

  9. Am I wrong here?

    Uggla and Upton are completely irrelevant to the Braves’ chances this year. If either struggle, Schafer/Terdo and La Stella/Pastornicky will be able to provide league average offense, I believe. If those two positions provide league average, our offense will be very good.

    Chris Johnson, to me, is more important to our success considering he played lights out last year, and we don’t have anyone to create comparable value. If Upton or Uggla play to their potential, Johnson won’t really need to, however.

    My prediction, while hardly an aggressive one, is that Johnson will regress, Uggla will be replaced by La Stella/Pastornicky, and Upton will have the equivalent of his three years in TB before Atlanta (though he will never get back to his sophomore season… because he’s stupid).

    I actually agree with ZiPS on most of their projections. Johnson is at .275/.315/.423, Uggla at .218/.321/.407, La Stella at .275/.340/.411, and Upton at .231/.304/.413. I disagree with BJ, and I think it’ll be closer to La Stella’s line but with more power (.260/.330/.440).

  10. @18 While CJ is important, I believe our key variables in our offense are Heyward and JUpton. We don’t even need to have a monster season from them. Just a healthy, productive, and consistent season from them would be sufficient…and that’s a lot to ask for from these two already.

  11. @18

    I think you’re wrong that BJ Upton is irrelevant to the Braves’ chances because I don’t think Schafer/Terdo will give us league average offense and I don’t think Schafer’s glove is quite where at BJ’s level. Some combo of Gattis/Doumit has a decent chance of a league-average to slightly better than league average offense, but the hit we’d take on defense would wipe out that advantage.

    I like your optimistic slash line on him. It’s not out of the question. But I think it’s essential that he gets close to it.

    And a lousy season from Uggla? You’re right. A lousy six weeks is all the leash he’s going to get. Can’t fuck us up too bad.

  12. Are there any fellow Braves Journal devotees going to be at opening day tomorrow like myself? I’d love to meet some fellow fans

  13. Opening Day!

    Some things never change…
    @AdamRubinESPN: #Mets spokesman said there are some “complications” and lineup won’t be disclosed until Terry Collins speaks at 9:45 AM.

  14. I just hope Teheran does not put pressure on himself to be the “ace.” I think that’s a dangerous idea for a kid who, really, has had one year in the big leagues and I fear he might try to do too much. Opening Day is really just one game and there is often too much focus. But, in general, the Braves need to emphasize to Teheran that they do not expect him to carry the load (even if they do). He can’t win the games by himself. Just pitch the way he can.

  15. Gearrin has a ligament injury that Wren calls “significant”. Gearrin is making his trip to Andrews this week.

  16. If this team does contend this year, it is certain to be a team we can fall in love with with contributions from many unlikely and/or new sources.

    If the team sucks this year, then we can point back to March and know that whether through bad luck, or design, the die was cast a while back.

    Personally, I’m really looking forward to it. Spring, optimism reigns supreme!

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