Teheran’s debut will be memorable

I’m sure many of you remember seeing this baby-faced version of Tom Glavine take his lumps for the Braves during the late 1980s.  And I’m quite confident none of you watched his Major League debut and said, “that kid is going to win 300 games and be in Cooperstown one day.”

But as we all know, things got much better for Mr. Glavine after he allowed six earned runs and 10 hits in 3 2/2 innings while making his Major League debut at the Astrodome on Aug. 17, 1987.  Those of you who weren’t following the Braves back then might recognize him better from the picture below, which was taken last summer when the Braves retired his No. 47.

As you watch Julio Teheran make his Major League debut against the Phillies tonight, many of you will wonder if you are watching the start of a truly special career.   Regardless of what transpires, it will take many more years to learn whether this proves true.

But for an hour or two tonight,  there’s no doubt you will be watching something that you will remember for many years to come.  You might walk away with the excitement you felt when Kyle Davies tossed five scoreless innings while making his Major League debut against the Red Sox on a cold, rainy May night in Boston six years ago.

Or you might walk away feeling disappointed like Steve Avery was when he allowed eight earned runs and lasted just 2 1/3 innings while making his big league debut against the Reds in 1990.

Davies won another 13 games for the Braves and Avery was an 18-game winner for the memorable 1991 Braves team.

Still while the individual results of a highly-regarded prospect’s debut mean virtually nothing, fans should fully savor the excitement surrounding the debut of a player like Teheran, a 20-year-old who ranks as MLB.com’s second-best right-handed pitching prospect.

Most of you likely remember exactly where you were when Jason Heyward used the first swing of his career to produce a  three-run homer off Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano.   Likewise, many of you likely have a story to tell about the three-run, eighth-inning homer Jeff Francoeur hit in his debut against Cubs left-hander Glendon Rusch.

Of course there are also the debuts in which a player impresses while achieving sub-par results.  After Tommy Hanson surrendered three two-run homers in his debut against the Brewers two years ago, I remember thinking about how much he had impressed during the early innings that afternoon.

Hanson then spent the next month showing why he was considered the game’s top right-handed pitching prospect.  He allowed just three earned runs in the 30 innings that encompassed his next five starts.   In other words, he and John Smoltz experienced different paths at the beginning of their careers.

Smoltz limited the Mets to one earned run and worked eight innings while making his debut at Shea Stadium on July 23, 1988.   He went 0-4 with an 8.44 ERA in his next five starts.

Because Teheran will return to Triple-A Gwinnett after tonight’s start, it will be some time before we see the path he travels during the early portion of his career.  But as long as he is on the mound tonight,  Braves fans will at least enjoy the opportunity to be introduced to the young kid with the very bright future.

At 20 years, 100 days old, Teheran will be the youngest Major League player to make his debut as a starting pitcher since San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner debuted in September 2009 at 20 years, 38 days. He will also become the youngest Braves pitcher to make his big-league debut as a starting pitcher since Avery did so in June of 1990 (20 years, 60 days).

Instead of pitching either Hanson or Tim Hudson on short rest for Sunday night’s game, the Braves decided it was best to call Teheran up for this one start.   But  Braves general manager Frank Wren said he wasn’t completely comfortable with giving the young hurler his debut in front of a nationally-televised audience Sunday night.

Thus the Braves opted to push Jair Jurrjens back to Sunday and allow Teheran to make his debut tonight.   Getting an extra day should be welcomed by Jurrjens, who has thrown at least 100 pitches in each of his first four starts of the season.

Teheran will be opposed by Kyle Kendrick, who will be making his first start while filling in for Roy Oswalt, who is on the disabled list with a sore back.

With or without Oswalt, the Phillies can feel good about a rotation that includes Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.  But with a little more than 20 percent of the season complete, the Braves’ starters have produced a better ERA.

Braves’ starting pitchers led the National League and ranked second in the Majors with the 2.88 ERA they had posted entering Saturday.  The Phillies’ starters  rank second in the National League with a 3.14 ERA.

The offense has obviously improved.  But pitching is the primary reason the Braves have won 11 of their past 14 games.  The starting pitchers have gone 8-0 with 1.93 ERA in the past 15 games.

10 Comments

Mr. Bowman,

This is a nice piece, although it sounds like you are preparing us like lambs for slaughter. I suppose we will know by the end of the third inning. Go Teheran, show us all you deserve to be in the Bigs.

All is quiet on the Philly troll phront.

Lol, I trolled Phille phans for 3 posts and I already have them insulting me like 9 year olds. It’s amazing how childish they are.

OK – I hate this but I’m going to be the one to bring it up. Heyward is lost at the plate. I hate to be that guy – but if we’re going to give McClouth such a hard time in the #2 hole then we can’t overlook what Heyward has done… or lack of doing. Granted Nate has had a longer go of sucking. However, Heyward is the easiest out in the lineup now. He’s lowered his BA about 50+ points in the last two weeks.
I love that we’re winning right now, but for it to continue he needs to figure it out. I hate him in the #2 hole and always have. I don’t think that’s the issue – but something needs to be adjusted. Hope he can figure it out.
Brandon – it is pretty funny seeing you get a rise out of the Phans. However, if there’s anything we’ve learned from Silent Bill, it’s that trash talking in May can turn into a pretty sour September/October. I like that you are staying classier than they are.

All I’m really trying to do is show them that they are what they hated. They got mad an decided to come on here and continually troll because of what Bill did, but yet they turn around this year and do the same thing. Just trying to see if they understand how hypocritical they are. And of course, they’re clueless.

The thing about batting #2 is that you want someone who can hit to the right side of the field. Unfortunately, that’s all Heyward’s trying to do now. He needs to stop trying to pull everything and hit to all fields with authority, which is what got him to Atlanta.

I understand that Heyward is struggling, as is Dan Uggla. But the optimist in me believes both of these guys will pull out soon. I would like to point out a few positives.
-Prado is returning to his old form at the plate
-Brandon Beachy has more strikeouts than Tommy Hanson (who would have guessed that)
-Our rotation has better numbers than that of the Phils
-Chipper has seemed to turn back the clock a couple years
-Alex Gonzalez is playing very well right now, fielding and hitting
-Eric O’Flaherty has been lights out along with Kimbrel and Venters
-Hinske has already hit a couple of huge HR in limited AB’s
-McLouth has risen about the Mendoza area for the first time in a while

Let’s hope we can finish strong this year…..

I agree completely, but did you have to point out McLouth is doing so well? Bills gonna come back, see that, and go cry and stay in exile like he has for the past week again.

Silent Bill is off somewhere growing a beard in protest. He will not shave until McClouth dips back to .200.

Today Bill and Brandon are at the fillies site inviting them over for the weekend

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