The former title of this post was "All Signs Point To Julio Teheran Making Another Spot Start For Braves."
Any injury to an Atlanta Braves starter, while not desirable, is nevertheless an opportunity for the next great wave of Braves starters to get closer to the Majors. So when Brandon Beachy went down with an oblique injury last week it left an opening in the rotation that needed to be filled. Enter baseball's top pitching prospect, Julio Teheran.
The Braves haven't officially announced it yet, but the baseball tea leaves are all saying it will be Teheran. First off, the other rookie candidate, Mike Minor made a start yesterday, throwing 90 pitches over five innings. If the team wanted him to start on Wednesday, they wouldn't have had him throw that many pitches. Scratch him off the list.
Veteran starter Rodrigo Lopez is scheduled to start today (at 10:35am), so we'll find out soon enough if he is ruled out of the starting options on Wednesday. The Braves would also have to add him to the 40-man roster if they called him up to the Majors, and that would activate a clause in his contract that would pay him $1 million. The Braves likely don't want to spend that money for what is expected to be a spot start. Scratch him off the list.
With those two options all but ruled out, that leaves super-prospect Julio Teheran. He made his Major League debut on May 7th in Philadelphia, and while he fell just an out shy of a five inning outing, he impressed many in Atlanta with his poise and composure even when he was understandably nervous and didn't have full command of his pitches.
Teheran returned to Gwinnett after that spot start and had a good start. He went seven and two-thirds innings allowing two runs on just three hits while striking out seven, though he did walk four. Little did anyone know that start would be a tune up for yet another spot start in the Majors.
Another sign pointing to Teheran making the start this Wednesday is the Braves promotion of double-A starter J.J. Hoover to triple-A. Hoover's scheduled turn in the rotation falls on the same day that Teheran's does. That's a huge clue into the Braves thinking.
I say that the start on Wednesday for Teheran will be a spot start because his next turn in the Atlanta rotation would fall on an off-day ( the 23rd of May). They could then send Teheran back to triple-A for a start, then call him up again on the 31st when they'll need a fifth starter again.
The Braves have a great set of backup starter options at triple-A to choose from. Teheran and his 1.91 ERA is an easy choice, but Lopez has a nice-looking 1.79 ERA, and Minor has a 2.22 ERA. Heck, even fourth starter Todd Redmond has a 3.18 ERA. The promotion of Teheran to the Majors will also open up opportunities for the Braves pitching prospects at double-A. Who, by the way, might be an equally impressive and deeper group of prospects.
Hoover, who will be the first to move up to triple-A, has a 2.16 ERA in Mississippi. With the retirement of triple-A starter Jacob Thompson another spot in the Gwinnett rotation opens up, and that could be filled by the prospect on the same rotation scheduled, Randall Delgado, who has a 2.38 ERA. Brett Oberholtzer had a great start last night and now has a 3.10 ERA, and the almost forgotten prospect, Paul Clemens, has a 1.90 ERA. That group of four should all be pushing to get into the Gwinnett rotation sometime this season.
The Braves are well stocked in rotation arms for the foreseeable future, and while we don't want any injuries to the main five in Atlanta, it's good to know that the team has viable options to step in and fill the void. The Diamondbacks better get ready for Julio Teheran.
Rodrigo Lopez threw 93 pitches in today's Gwinnett Braves game, so he won't be making the start on Wednesday. It should now be a foregone conclusion that Teheran will start Wednesday.
And now it's official. Fredi Gonzalez announced that Teheran will start on Wednesday against Arizona.