It’s safe to say Brandon Woodruff will be the Brewers number one pitcher in 2020 but Milwaukee has yet to find a clear number two. Gerrit Cole, Madison Bumgarner, and Hyun Jin-Ryu, will get all of the attention from the media leaving a dark horse out of Atlanta behind. That player is starting pitcher, Julio Teheran.
Teheran bursted onto the scene in 2013 as a 22-year-old when he went 14-8 with a 3.20 ERA in 185.2 innings pitched. He also had 170 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.174. He finished 5th in the Rookie of the Year voting that year while the late great Jose Fernandez took home the award. Teheran’s best season of his career came just one year later in 2014 when he had a 2.89 ERA in 221.0 innings with 186 strikeouts and an elite WHIP of 1.081. In 2014, he earned his first out of two All-Star births. Even though 2014 was the best season of his career, Teheran has still managed to be a consistent and solid starting pitcher in the MLB. Since 2014, he has started 159 games and has a respectable ERA of 3.90. Last season, he started 33 games and had a 3.81 ERA in 174.2 innings. His best stretch of 2019 started on May 5th and went through June 13th. In that span, Teheran made 8 starts, threw 44.2 innings and had an ERA of just 0.81. Opponents were batting just .137 against the righty and the Braves were 7-1 in the games he started.
Throughout his career, Teheran has pitched in 9 seasons and has a 77-73 record with a career ERA of 3.67. What’s most impressive about his career is the fact that he’s the definition of a workhorse. Since he became a full-time starter in 2013, Teheran has averaged about 32 starts per season and about 191 innings pitched. He’s a guy that can grind through games and eat up innings. His go-to pitch is a hard, low 90s sinker that is on par with some of the best in baseball. He also throws a low 90s fastball, low 80s slider, mid 80s changeup, and a mid 70s curve. Teheran is able to throw all 5 pitches for strikes along with a very “herky-jerky” delivery which makes him a very tough pitcher to get a feel for.
If the Brewers want to sign Julio Teheran, which they should, they will have to wait and see what the Braves do with him first. Atlanta has the option to keep him for $12 million this upcoming season but it doesn’t look like they are going to pay it. Teheran used to be the Braves ace but now he is their number three or four pitcher behind Mike Soroka, Mike Foltynewicz, and Dallas Kuechel. $12 million is a steep price to pay for a guy the Braves put in the bullpen during the postseason.
If and when Julio Teheran becomes a free agent, the Brewers should be all over the phones contacting his agent. Teheran can give the Brewers an established, veteran pitcher that can eat up a lot of innings and take the pressure of their young bullpen. Instead of trying to get the most out of guys like Freddy Peralta, Corbin Burnes, and Jimmy Nelson, who had a combined ERA of 7.02 last season, Teheran can seamlessly slide into the rotation and be a great fit as the number two behind Brandon Woodruff. To sign him, the Brewers would most likely have to give him the money that they would use to sign Jordan Lyles and Gio Gonzalez but Teheran is worth it. The Brewers could sign him to a 2-3 year deal while they are in their window of being postseason contenders.
A starting rotation in 2020 of Woodruff, Teheran, Zach Davies, Adrian Houser, and Chase Anderson already looks a lot better than any combination Milwaukee rolled out in 2019.