Tomahawk Chops: Could Julio Teheran be more than a 5th starter?

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Julio Teheran would've had to pitch terribly this spring to miss out on a spot in the Braves' rotation. And even if he didn't have that great of a showing, he still probably would've been penciled in as the club's fifth starter.

After another fine performance on Thursday night against a worthwhile Tigers lineup, Teheran improved his line to this in spring training:

9IP, 4H, 2ER, 12K, 2BB, 2.00 ERA

Yes, that's a small sample size, and yes, it's in exhibition games. But if you watch Teheran throw this spring, it's pretty apparent this is hardly the guy we sparingly saw in the big leagues the last two years.

Mixing in a two-seam fastball to go along with his mid-90s four-seamer, Teheran is commanding both sides of the plate and getting ahead of hitters early in the count. This is awfully similar to what we heard of when Frank Wren and the Braves brass went down to see Teheran pitch in the Dominican Winter League over the winter months.

Then, after working the count in his favor, Teheran breaks out his new slurve-like breaking ball to put the batter away.

There's no denying Teheran struggled in Triple-A last season. It's easy to forget that he's just 22 years old, though, and that the sky is still the limit for him.

If he were in college, he'd be pitching in his senior season. In a couple of months, he'll be pitching at Turner Field. Give the kid a chance to prove himself. I would not be surprised to see him emerge as more than just a fifth starter for the Braves in 2013.

Now onto the links...

In last night's WBC, Andrelton Simmons did this:


Strong two-seamer suits Teheran in latest outing | braves.com: News
Julio Teheran's bid to win the fifth spot in Atlanta's rotation was strengthened as he allowed Detroit one run in four innings of Thursday night's 9-2 loss to the Tigers at Champion Stadium. Using his much-improved two-seam fastball and a slider that looks like a hard curveball, the 22-year-old right-hander recorded five strikeouts and surrendered three hits.

Confident in eyes, Freddie Freeman has clearer picture this year | braves.com: News
Freddie Freeman's ailments were regularly documented as he struggled to gain consistency with his powerful left-handed swing. Often overlooked was Freeman's constant battle to gain confidence in his ability to see well enough to handle the task of hitting at the big league level.

Braves catching prospect Bethancourt shows improvement | www.ajc.com
He's still just 21 years old, but it seems we’ve heard, read or written the praises of Braves catching prospect Christian Bethancourt for an awfully long time.

Braves monitoring health of O'Flaherty, Walden | braves.com: News
The Braves will spend the next couple of weeks monitoring left-handed reliever Eric O'Flaherty and right-handed reliever Jordan Walden as the two attempt to distance themselves from recent ailments.

BBTN Special: Braves Camp - ESPN Video - ESPN
ESPN Video: Karl Ravech, Tim Kurkjian and Curt Schilling report from Braves camp.

Baseball Prospectus Released Top-10 Braves Prospects
A pretty standard list without any real surprises, but a good writeup. And it looks like it's not behind the subscriber paywall.

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