By Jeffrey Tomich
Teheran living up to billing ... Julio Teheran's (RHP, ATL) first taste of the big leagues at age 20 was a bitter one, and he followed that up with a rough year at Triple-A Gwinnett with a 5.08 ERA. Those stumbles lowered the bar for expectations heading into the season. But Teheran has more than held his own in his first full year as a major league starter.
Year IP ERA xERA Ctl Dom Cmd S% G/L/F hr/9 BPV
==== === ==== ==== === === === == ======== ==== ===
2011* 164 3.19 3.39 3.0 6.7 2.2 76 30/24/46 0.5 76
2012* 137 5.45 5.08 2.7 6.0 2.2 64 22/33/44 1.1 45
2013 89 3.32 3.71 1.6 7.2 4.4 77 42/21/37 1.1 105
* Includes MLEs
Teheran is displaying skills that made him an upper-echelon prospect, and then some:
He's showing excellent control of the strike zone while upping his Dom rate. The result has been an All-Star caliber Cmd rate.
Teheran's strand rate is higher than average, helping him outpitch his xERA.
He's boosted his GB%, which has helped minimize HR.
A triple-digit BPV speaks to the overall talent here.
Rizzo continues to mature
It's important to remember that Teheran is just 22 and he soared through the minor leagues, so it's not surprising that he struggled in his first several starts. But he's now clearly pitching with confidence, tossing PQS-DOM starts in six of his last seven outings. While guys like Minor, Medlen and Beachy get a lot of the attention among the Braves young arms, Teheran is making a name for himself as well. If there is a concern this summer, it's that he's yet to exceed the 140-inning mark in his professional career.
More growth for Rizzo ... Anthony Rizzo (1B, CHC) seemed to answer any doubts last season with a .285-15-48 line after his late-June call-up. And the performance rightly established expectations for his first full season at Wrigley Field.
Year AB BA xBA bb% ct% Eye h% PX G/L/F hr/f HR/SB vLHP
==== === ==== ==== === === ==== == === ======== ==== ===== ====
2011 128 .141 .196 14 64 0.46 21 103 43/13/44 3% 1/ 2 .172
2012 337 .285 .280 7 82 0.44 31 108 45/25/30 18% 15/ 3 .208
2013 274 .245 .279 10 80 0.57 27 132 43/20/37 14% 11/ 5 .248
Rizzo continues to build on the skills he displayed last summer:
His strike zone judgment has improved and he's closer to showing the very good batting Eye he displayed in the minors.
A boost in FB% is reflected in his PX and will show up in his HR total, too, especially if he can repeat last year's hr/f.
Rizzo has underachieved his xBA thanks to a subpar h%.
He's continued to improve vs. LHP and so far is actually hitting southpaws better than right-handers.
There's no huge step up in skills here, and no statistical "breakout" looming. But at 24, Rizzo continues to grow and mature as a hitter and should continue to be a productive corner infielder for years to come. And it's not unreasonable to see a small uptick in his numbers the remainder of this season if luck cooperates.
What's wrong with Prado? ... Martin Prado (3B, ARI) has never been a huge power threat or base stealer. What he was, though, was a hitting machine who could be relied on for a .300 average. But Prado's average is lurking below .240 these days. What's wrong?
Year AB BA xBA bb% ct% Eye h% PX HR/SB Spd SBO
==== === ==== ==== === === ==== == === ===== === ===
2010 599 .307 .293 6 86 0.47 34 99 15/ 5 122 5%
2011 551 .260 .276 6 91 0.65 27 80 13/ 4 113 9%
2012 617 .301 .291 9 89 0.84 33 86 10/17 119 11%
2013 286 .238 .269 7 89 0.63 25 61 5/ 1 78 7%
Prado's BPIs aren't all that different from previous seasons:
He's drawing a few less walks than last season, but his bb% isn't outside the range we'd expect based on data from the previous three seasons.
His hallmark as a hitter -- excellent contact rate -- is still firmly in place.
Prado's h% explains a lot of the difference. He's produced hit rates above league average (30%) for most of his career.
After stealing 17 bags last year, Prado is 1-for-5 in steal attempts this season.
As the centerpiece of Arizona's Justin Upton trade, Prado has no doubt been a disappointment thus far. The good news is his batting average should improve over the balance of the season given his still solid fundamentals. That still probably leaves Prado's numbers well short of last year's totals, especially in the stolen base category. But given that he'd never before stolen more than five bases in a season, it seemed unlikely he would repeat last year's SB total, anyway.
Jorge De La Rosa examined, Anthony Rendon assessed
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