Julio Teheran is owned in just 52% of Yahoo! leagues but I expect that number to jump up pretty swiftly after last night’s performance. If he’s available, it’s time to put a claim in on him and offer up a hefty amount of FAAB if that’s how your league operates. The one concern around owning Teheran and investing a lot into him this season was the return of Brandon Beachy. With Teheran’s sixth straight quality start, he has all but assured he will remain in the rotation when Beachy returns in the next two weeks.
After his first three starts, Teheran has posted a 2.13 ERA with 43 strikeouts and just eight walks in 55 innings. The strikeouts have begun to pick up as well, with 25 in his past 21.1 innings pitched. The Colombian right-hander is still working to improve his changeup, which he has thrown just 4.2% of the time. The fact that he has had this much success without utilizing what was known as his best pitch while he was coming through the minors is a very big deal. This is why I am looking to acquire Teheran in every league right now, because once he picks that back up he will be even better than he currently is.
Where Teheran has really improved is in his command. He walked 7.5% of the batters he faced last year and 8.1% the season before, both at triple-A Gwinnett. This season, his walk rate has dropped to a sparkling 5.1%, the 21st lowest mark in all of baseball. This has allowed him to be a first pager in strikeout-to-walk rate, so even though the strikeouts over the course of the full season have not been incredibly impressive, the K/BB rate has been great and it is a main driver for his success so far.
Teheran was working on his fastball command and his breaking balls at Triple-A and in winter ball. Both of those have seen massive improvements, showing that he is capable of adapting when he needs to adapt. He has been working hard with Gerald Laird behind the plate and yesterday’s one-hitter was obviously the high point of the year for the two of them.
While there is understandably doubt that Teheran becomes the ace many expected him to be, in his first full season as a starter he has put himself back on track to be a very successful starter and looks like he could certainly be a front-end guy for a sustainable amount of time.
ZiPS has Teheran with a 4.36 ERA and a 3.07 BB/9 after walking just 1.9 per nine so far this year. The walk rate is the main difference between what Teheran has been so far and what ZiPS projects him to be. If he reverts back to that type of walk rate and his strikeout-to-walk ratio dips, sure he could end up struggling as the season continues. What I foresee happening given his recent trends and improvements is at least a slight uptick in his walk right but a coinciding increase in his strikeout rate. I think projection an ERA between 3.30 and 3.60 for the remainder of the season is reasonable and not even incredibly optimistic. If that is someone who you are willing to trade for, send out some offers and see if his owner is willing to move him.
Ben has been at RotoGraphs since 2012 and focuses most of his fantasy baseball attention toward dynasty and keeper leagues.