We heard when the Atlanta Braves signed Freddie Freeman to a massive eight-year extension, setting records for a player with such limited service time, that they might explore locking up other young pieces on their club. It didn’t take long for that next piece to be Julio Teheran, who agreed to a six-year extension with the Braves on Friday.
Just as the case was with Freeman, who had less than four years of service time prior to signing his extended deal with Atlanta, the Braves locked up a player with limited big league experience, but massive upside. The 2013 season marked Teheran’s first full season at the Major League level, but he left a pretty big impact on a club that thinks it can contend for a World Series title in 2014.
The deal Teheran and the Braves agreed to is for six years and $32.4 million, with an option for 2020 that could allow him to earn up to $44.4 million. Given the upside that Julio Teheran does possess, this has the potential to be a massive steal for the Braves, but given that limited experience, there is also much more of a risk factor involved than there was when the Braves locked up Freddie Freeman.
Teheran tossed 185.2 innings in 2013, going 14-8 for a contending Braves squad. He demonstrated an outstanding ability to locate his pitches, as he has throughout his professional career, walking barely over two hitters per nine last season. Couple that with over eight strikeouts per nine and it’s easy to see where the 3.20 ERA came from. There isn’t much of a disparity between that and his 3.69 FIP either, which means there isn’t much of a reason to expect a regression in 2013.
The thing about Julio Teheran’s 2013 season was that he got better as it wore on. April wasn’t kind to him, but after the first month of the season was over, he went on to strike out 150 hitters (170 on the season) and 37 walks, 16 of which came in one month. Even when he struggled with his 4.44 ERA in September & October, his FIP was still very good at 3.21, indicating that he may not have been as bad as that ERA actually looks.
All in all, this is a deal you have to love for the Atlanta Braves. You don’t know what’s going to happen in terms of a player’s health or if he could mentally implode and start to struggle, but Julio Teheran is the type of guy that Atlanta plans to slot in at the top of their rotation for the next several years. Getting him at that type of price is going to pan out to be nothing short of a steal for the Braves.