The Atlanta Braves have been a model organization for over two decades, despite recently falling short of the playoffs. Perhaps the best signal of the Braves’ future success is how smoothly the transfer of power has gone in the front office. GM Frank Wren is now a seasoned vet after taking the reins from John Schuerholz in 2007. Scouting and Farm Directors Roy Clark and Kurt Kemp have been changed to Tony DeMacio and Ronnie Richardson respectfully. Still, the Braves’ machine keeps rolling. 2012 saw Atlanta win 94 games and nab a Wild Card spot for the second time in three seasons. There’s lots of ways to win in baseball; you can have really great pitching, super great hitting, teams built on speed, unhittable bullpens, lots of three-true-outcome players or tons of .300 hitters. The only way a team can win consistently is with scouting. The Atlanta Braves have as good a scouting department as any team in baseball.
1 | JULIO TEHERAN
Teheran is a bit of a difficult prospect for some get a handle on. By statistical definition you see so many more guys with average, or below, skills that they kind of run together. Players with great stuff are rare; some aspects of greatness are easy to spot. Julio Teheran has a standout arm. His fastball sits 92-94 MPH with some action and regularly touches 95-97 MPH. Both his change-up and curve-ball have the depth and action to be quality big league offerings. Teheran threw 40 good innings in Double-A as a teenager and got a cup of coffee in Atlanta before he was old enough to drink anything stronger than coffee. Yet despite his outstanding raw stuff and the Braves’ confidence in the young right-hander, Teheran has struggled a bit the past couple seasons.
Teheran spent nearly all of 2012 repeating Triple-A and performing worse than the in his first go-round at the International League. Teheran’s strikeout rate fell to a career-low 16.8%. Teheran also go hit around for the first time in his career, giving up 18 home runs in 131 innings and posting a .282 batting average against as well as a 5.08 ERA. The problems mostly stem from a failure to repeat mechanics. Even though his walk rates are OK, Teheran has below-average command; often falling behind early then letting hitter’s sit on his fastball. From a ballistics perspective, pitching control is always a mechanical problem. Teheran also has a habit of noticeably decelerating his front-side while throwing his change-up. His stuff was good enough to blow-away hitters in the low-minors but advanced hitters will feat on a pitcher with poor command who tips his pitches. Good news is Teheran is still very young and a part of an organization that knows a thing or two about pitching. He has plenty of time to make the necessary adjustments and word out of the Dominican Winter League is that he may already have. No matter what, Teheran is very likely to have a big league career in some capacity. He’ll enter spring training with a shot at the Braves’ rotation and could front that staff in a few years if he reaches his enormous potential.
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