Braves Midseason Report





Best Player: Julio Teheran has made two starts in the big leagues this year in between opening the campaign 9-1, 1.79 at Triple-A Gwinnett. He's also allowed just 67 hits in 91 innings, proving his time in the International League should be on the verge of ending.

"It's not a matter of if but when," said Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez, referring to Teheran's chances of joining the major league rotation. "He has a few things to work on, just like anyone else, but his poise and ability are impressive."

While Teheran, 20, continues to fine-tune his ability to command his mid-90s fastball, the righthander's strengths are off the charts. His changeup has become a plus offering, with his sharp curveball not far behind his other two primary pitches. Yet the most impressive aspect of Teheran's game is his ability to set up hitters and force them to swing at his pitches.

Biggest Leap Forward: Based on the hype he received upon entering the 2010 season, catcher Christian Bethancourt's performance at low Class A Rome was considered to be a disappointment. He was overpowered offensively at times and often wasted at-bats. Worse, he appeared lethargic behind the plate.

Now 19, Bethancourt has regained much of his previous luster thanks in part to an added year of maturity and another half-season in the South Atlantic League. He returned to Rome this spring and looked like a different hitter while batting .303/.323/.430 and showing solid gap power. His defense also has made impressive strides, and he caught 32.3 percent of runners attempting to steal prior to his midseason promotion to high Class A.

Biggest Disappointment: The Braves knew Mycal Jones would encounter some challenges while moving from shortstop to center field. His defense has been solid, but his offense and inability to stay on the field have been a different story.

Jones missed all of April after injuring a foot in spring training. His progress was derailed shortly after his return when Jones was placed on the suspended list for 10 days following his arrest for DWI. He then experienced a swoon in June by hitting .196/.357/.283 in 138 at-bats during the month. On the positive side, he had 32 walks versus 25 strikeouts in his first 138 at-bats, keeping his on-base percentage respectable.

Wigwam Wisps

• Teheran was the youngest player selected for the July 13 Triple-A all-star game. Other Gwinnett players joining him on the IL squad were designated hitter Stefan Gartrell, first baseman Mauro Gomez and outfielder Jose Constanza.

• Righthander Paul Clemens continued to make impressive strides at Double-A Mississippi. Clemens endured two rough starts in early June when he allowed a combined 12 earned runs in nine innings. Nevertheless, he allowed only 78 hits in his first 84 innings while going 5-4, 3.42.