If the Atlanta Braves don't find or name another fifth starter while Brandon Beachy (elbow) rehabs his Tommy John surgery, the path to fantasy relevance finally could clear for Julio Teheran.
You'll hear a lot about the prospect's woeful performance at Triple-A Gwinnett, where he was dented with a 5.08 ERA on the year, his second go-round at the level, as well as a few underwhelming MLB stints. His once hyperbole-laden value has taken a significant hint.
What gets little attention is that a lot of his troubles might fall, to a degree, on the shoulders of his organization. Per Baseball America, the Bravos attempted to streamline the right-hander's typically violent delivery into something that didn't make them lose sleep. While it diminished exerted energy and quelled some injury concerns, the new method hindered his velocity, therefore letting him become more hittable.
Luckily, some late-season tinkering restored his former fluidity, and he has spent the offseason building on his success:
Some of Teheran's late-season success was aided by the mechanical adjustments he made while special assistant Dom Chiti spent August with the Gwinnett club. One of the some simple changes included raising his glove, which seemed to help Teheran regain a more fluid and athletic delivery.
Teheran posted a 3.23 ERA in seven starts during the Dominican Winter League. He allowed just two hits while completing 16 2/3 scoreless innings over his final three starts.
With those alterations in the works down in Georgia, he fanned 31 in 35 frames and saw a significant grounder rate boost to 41.1 in the final month-plus.
DWL ball hardly predicts MLB performance, but the consistency that was MIA last summer has returned and may leave more enemy bats SOL. Teheran, who just turned 22 Sunday, won't punch out an elite rate of hitters yet, and he's not even going to scrape his upside, but he's leaning to stop throwing and start pitching enough to cap a dual-universe rotation for as long as he's a rotation member.
Use those negative statistics and reports of his performance to net a discount in NL-onlys. Deep mixed leaguers should be ready to add him to their staff's back end if he gets the gig out of the gate; he could have a fine half-season or more, depending on what happens down the road.
Maybe the spastic throws will build up over time; that sustains his long-term risk. But for the near future, that shouldn't restrict you from scooping up a downtrodden, exiled but potentially rescued stock with yooooge potential. Also not a bad time to check in with his dynasty league owner.
Oh, the blind fickleness of fantasy players....
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About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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