Teheran ranked No. 31 among Top 100 Prospects
Braves righty, 22, enters camp as favorite to claim fifth spot in rotation
ATLANTA -- Julio Teheran's stock dropped as he spent last summer enduring the most trying season of his young professional career. But the talented Braves right-hander remains one of baseball's top overall prospects.
Teheran ranks 31st on MLB.com's latest Top 100 Prospects list, which was unveiled on Tuesday night. While it is a respectable ranking, his standing is certainly different than it was when he ranked fourth on this same list just a year ago.
One year after seeing five of their players -- Teheran, Randall Delgado, Arodys Vizcaino, Andrelton Simmons and Christian Bethancourt -- included among the Top 100 Prospects, the Braves now have Teheran as their only prospect on this list.
Simmons has compiled too much Major League time to be considered a prospect. Delgado and Vizcaino were both traded. Bethancourt still ranks as the game's seventh-best catching prospect, but he just missed being included on this Top 100 list.
The annual ranking of baseball's biggest and brightest young talent is assembled by MLB.com's Draft and prospect expert Jonathan Mayo, who compiles input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, closeness to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. The list, which is one of several prospect rankings on MLB.com's Prospect Watch, only includes players with rookie status in 2013.
A year ago, the Rays' Matt Moore, the Angels' Mike Trout and the Nationals' Bryce Harper stood as the only prospects who ranked ahead of Teheran. Now, Teheran does not even rank among MLB.com's top 10 right-handed pitching prospects. But after watching Teheran pitch in a Dominican Winter League game in December, Braves general manager Frank Wren felt the young pitcher had regained the successful form he possessed before he posted a 5.08 ERA in 26 starts with Triple-A Gwinnett last summer.
"I think we saw a guy who learned from some of the trials over the course of this past season and re-emerged as a top-notch prospect in the winter," Wren said. "He showed his pitchability and stuff that we didn't see a whole lot of during 2012. But he was really impressive in December."
Teheran, 22, will enter Spring Training as the favorite to win the fifth spot in Atlanta's starting rotation. He has posted a 4.91 ERA in four Major League starts.
There was plenty of buzz surrounding Teheran as he posted a 2.55 ERA in 25 appearances (24 starts) while playing for Triple-A Gwinnett in 2011. There was reason to be surprised that he could handle International League opponents with such ease while just 20 years old.
Then baseball humbled Teheran as his mechanics got out of whack when he returned to pitch for Gwinnett last season. But the young pitcher produced some encouragement by allowing two earned runs or fewer in three of his final four starts.
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.
"Everything was back to what we had seen in the past -- the stuff and the quality of the pitches," Wren said. "I think his command might have been a notch better than what we had seen in the past."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.