Atlanta has carefully managed Julio Teheran's innings and assignments, but it became abundantly clear after a month that facing low Class A hitters just wasn't going to be much of a challenge.
In his first start for high Class A Myrtle Beach yesterday, Carolina League hitters didn't seem to faze Teheran either. The 19-year-old righthander struck out 12 and allowed one run in seven innings at Winston-Salem, surrendering two walks and four hits. It would have been a complete game for Teheran in the second game of a doubleheader, but the score remained tied after seven and lasted 20 innings before Winston-Salem emerged with a 4-3 victory.
It will be hard for hitters at any level to hit Teheran once he gains additional polish, and what he showed last night—a 93-96 mph fastball, an outstanding changeup and a slow curveball that could be an above-average pitch—is just about the best stuff you'll see from any pitcher in the minors.
Don't Sleep On Delgado
While Teheran and fellow Braves righthander Arodys Vizcainio are both outstanding prospects, Randall Delgado has emerged as one of the better arms in the minors this year as well. After tossing seven shutout innings with five strikeouts, one walk and three hits allowed in the first game of Myrtle Beach's doubleheader, Delgado is already making a case for a promotion to Double-A Mississippi. Delgado, a 20-year-old righthander from Panama, has a 2.58 ERA through nine starts, 56 strikeouts and 12 walks in 52 1/3 innings. Between Delgado, Teheran (Colombia) and catcher Christian Bethancourt (Panama), it's hard to find a team that has done a better job scouting in Latin America outside of the heavily-scouted Dominican Republic and Venezuela.
Strasburg Still Scoreless
If there are any Triple-A teams that want to score against Stephen Strasburg, they had better act quickly. Strasburg, who might make two more starts for Syracuse before heading to the big leagues, has yet to allow a run since his promotion to Syracuse. Yesterday was business as usual for baseball's best pitching prospect, who twirled 6 1/3 scoreless innings with nine strikeouts and two walks at Rochester.
Expectations are through the roof for Strasburg, but so far he's given every indication that he's the real deal. He's now thrown 18 1/3 scoreless innings through three Triple-A starts, and his combined numbers between Double-A and Triple-A are plain filthy: 40 1/3 innings, an ERA of 0.89, 49 strikeouts and 10 walks. At this point, the only question mark around Strasburg is whether schools and government offices will be shut down for his major league debut.
Chapman Shuts Down Lehigh Valley
Reds lefthander Aroldis Chapman pitched his best game yesterday since he dazzled Triple-A Toledo in his professional debut. Chapman struck out seven in five shutout innings yesterday at Lehigh Valley with three walks and three hits allowed, lowering his ERA to 3.98 through eight starts. While Strasburg has been nearly unhittable in every start, Chapman has mixed brilliant outings with shakier ones, which is exactly what scouts predicted when they were amateurs.
Chapman has an electric arm that can hit triple digits on the radar gun, which is a big reason for his 48 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings. Yet his command is still below-average, which is why he's given up 24 walks. Chapman's stuff is so good that just average command should allow him to dominate, so he doesn't have to be Brad Radke out there, but throwing more strikes is what's going to be the key here.
What's The Catch?
What does it feel like to be Derek Norris? Were it not for Strasburg, Norris would be the Nationals' No. 1 prospect. He could put himself in position to be the organization's top prospect in 2011, except that the Nationals have the No. 1 overall pick in the draft again this year and will probably take Bryce Harper, according to Jim Callis' latest mock draft. And if Harper stays behind the plate, what does that mean for Norris?
Norris went 1-for-2 with a walk and hit his first home run of the year yesterday for high Class A Potomac, where he has played in just 11 games after starting the year with a bruised left wrist. Norris, 21, has the offensive skill set to be the Nationals' catcher of the future with more work behind the plate, but his future might be affected more by the development of a 17-year-old from Nevada.
Morrison Back On Rehab
Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison certainly looked healthy in his first rehab appearance since missing the last month with a shoulder injury. Morrison went 4-for-5 with two triples and a double for high Class A Jupiter yesterday. He should return to Triple-A New Orleans soon.
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