Monday, January 31, 2011

Julio Teheran is the Braves' #1 prospect

Jason Heyward was the no-brainer #1 prospect in the Atlanta system going into last season. His graduation obviously hurts the strength of the farm system, but Julio Teheran makes a worthy top prospect as well. The Braves signed Teheran for $850,000 as a 16-year-old based on his raw projection, but as a 19-year-old in 2010, Teheran started to turn that raw projection into actualized skill.

The right-hander demolished the opposition at High-A Myrtle Beach, striking out 76 batters in just 63 and 1/3 innings pitched against 56 hits and 13 walks. Upon advancing to Double-A, Teheran struggled with his command, compiling a 38:17 K/BB ratio in 40 innings pitched. The jump from High A to AA is widely thought to be the second-toughest jump behind AAA to MLB. Look for Teheran to begin 2011 with the Double-A affiliate.

If Julio comes out of the gates in 2011 blowing hitters away with his mid-90s fastball, devastating curve, and above-average changeup like he did in A-ball while demonstrating improved command of the strike zone, he could be in a position to help the major league team down the stretch in September and into the playoffs. Personally, I think the Braves play this one conservatively given the wealth of young pitching talent already at their disposal, and we don't see Teheran until 2012.

But when he does arrive, we're looking at a top of the rotation starter with several All-Star seasons if he reaches his ceiling.

Teheran was ranked the 7th overall prospect by Keith Law and the 10th overall prospect by

>> Next (#2: Freddie Freeman)

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