Spring Training 2019: The Braves’ Quest For a 5th Starter

Spring Training 2019: The Braves’ Quest For a 5th Starter
FILE – Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

While the Braves search for who will fill the role of the club’s fifth starter this spring, Julio Teheran, who just turned 28 years old, is suddenly the old man of the rotation. While his string of five straight Opening Day starts (more than likely) ends this year, Teheran feels like he’s in a good place heading into the new campaign. “I feel like whenever I say high on my backside, it’s just a different pitch” Teheran said on Friday, when asked about the movement of his slider. “You can see different swings” he added, stating that was a pitch he will continue to refine between now and Opening Day.

While it was an up and down season for Teheran in 2018, he finished it off on a high note by allowing two earned or fewer in eight of his final ten appearances of the regular season. He also found himself coming out of the bullpen in Game Four of the NLDS, where he allowed one hit over an inning and two thirds scoreless. While it doesn’t mean much once you get through the first week of the regular season, Teheran likely finds himself in the fourth spot in the rotation to start the new year. But, the only thing he’s focused on is putting together a full and consistent season. One thing you know you can rely on when it comes to Teheran is the ability to make 30 or more starts, and log you between 180 and 200 innings. While the Braves rotation could look much different (and younger) in 2020, Teheran’s ability to eat innings could really pay dividends to guys like Kyle Wright, Bryse Wilson and others who continue to get closer to being Big League ready.

Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.