I had a chance to see Julio Teheran pitch last March. I know I'm a little late to the party but why let good video go to waste, especially when a guy is coming off a breakout season. Scroll to the bottom of the page for some .gifs of Teheran pitching.
With the minor league season in the books and most baseball news now focussed on the big leagues, let's revisit Teheran's outstanding full-season debut. He's well on his way toward becoming a prospect who will see his name next to MLB betting lines some day.
A lean righty with a live arm, some deception and plenty of charisma, Teheran was catapulted from Low-A to Double-A in his first full season. I saw him as more of a thrower than a pitcher, but the 19-year-old has plenty of time to figure out how to harness his stuff.
If he can learn to spin his curveball consistently and hit his spots with his fastball and changeup, Teheran could turn into an above-average MLB starter. If not, his arsenal is already explosive enough to feature in a big-league bullpen.
Fastball (top left): Sat 92-94 MPH and touched 95. Though it had some movement into righties and he could throw it for strikes, Teheran didn't command the pitch well. It did not have any sink when I saw him pitch. The velocity of the pitch is special, but big league hitters will drive fastballs that get too much of the plate.
Curveball (top right): Ranged from 69-76 MPH and featured sharp, late two-plane break. Teheran did not exhibit much command of his curveball, a near 12-to-6 downer, but he's going to be able to give plenty of hitters jelly legs with it. He pitched up a lot with his curve, opposed to burying it in the dirt. Still, it flashes a lot of promise.
Changeup (bottom left): Was 81-86 MPH. I like the late tumble and fade (away from lefties) that Teheran gets with the pitch. He did, however, slow his arm and body down noticeably when he threw it, something that big league hitters will pick up on. Like his curveball, Teheran's change has the potential to become an above-average pitch.
Steve Carter is Salivating?
"Just watch his arm speed and his front-side deceleration and his intent to throw," said Steve Carter, a former college hitter and our resident hitting expert. "All different. I'm salivating at that -- LOVED seeing pitchers tip. Just eliminated two pitches. Teheran has nasty stuff without a doubt, but there is a definite difference between his fastball and changeup deliveries. This is something to keep an eye on as he moves up and faces more advanced and experienced hitters."
I see a guy who some organizations would be tempted to have break camp with the big league bullpen in 2011.
Teheran works quickly and has outstanding velocity. He's not going to be a ground-ball pitcher, but he should be able to miss enough bats that giving up the occasional long fly won't derail him.
The big question is what kind of improvements will he be able to make with his command?
Without a significant leap forward, he may be best suited for the bullpen, where he could challenge and likely overpower hitters in short bursts.