20 year old Colombian Julio Teheran is baseball's #1 ranked pitching prospect ahead of the likes of Jeremy Hellickson and Michael Pineda. So what makes the wiry youngster the best young arm in baseball?
Julio Teheran has incredible stuff for a pitcher his age and is well ahead of most players his age. He made it to AA last year at age 19 and more than held his own, limiting opposing hitters to 6.5 H/9. His BB/9 jumped to 3.8 but his career mark stands at 2.4. The loss of command at the higher level is somewhat troubling but considering he had never posted a rate above 2.6 he should be able to bring that number back down into the low 2s.
Teheran not only avoids hits and walks but he can also strike batters out in bunches. He has struck out 246 batters in 244.2 innings pitched. He should be able to maintain that rate for the most part in the majors with 8 K/9 being a possibility once he is called up.
Teheran combines a mid-90s fastball with a plus curve and changeup. Being able to dial it up to 97 is one thing but to follow it up with a plus changeup is downright nasty. With so few pitchers entering the majors without a plus secondary pitch it's easy to see why Teheran is so highly regarded having two.
Scouts praise a seemingly effortless delivery that doesn't raise any red flags that may point to an injury risk in his future. His first pro season was cut short by shoulder tendinitis but aside from that he has remained healthy. He is 6'2" 170 lbs and is likely to gain some weight as he ages. The weight gain should come in the form of his body filling out as it matures and it will only add to his strengths as he should gain stamina. He pitched 140+ innings last year and the Braves will be looking to push him past 160 innings this year.
Expect to see Teheran in a Braves uniform sometime this year, although with their deep rotation he may have to wait until September when he will likely serve in a relief role. The Braves will give him a start or two before the season is out but they wil likely have an innings cap on him to he probably won't be used often once called up. For fantasy purposes he probably won't produce much this year. However, he is a must own in keeper formats and in all likelihood is already owned. If he is still available he should be added immediately. Teheran has everything you look for in a fantasy prospect and his ceiling is much higher than Jeremy Hellickson's due simply to his explosive stuff. He could be a useful fantasy cog as soon as next year with roto-acedom not far behind.