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braves-sign-julio-teheran | July | 2007 Articles

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Braves Sign Julio Teheran

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Update: The Braves announced today on the first day of the signing period that they have come to terms with Julio Teheran. Bill Shanks at scout.com broke the story.
îWe got him,î said Johnny Almaraz, the Bravesí Director of Latin American Operations. ìIf you had a wish list, heíd be right at the top.î The Braves signed sixteen-year-old Julio Teheran to a contract Monday, the first day for international signings. Heís a 6í2Ωî, 175-pound right-handed pitcher from Columbia that was rated as the top pitcher on the international market this summer. Teheran has a fastball that ranges from 91-94 mph along with a plus curve and plus changeup. The Braves have followed Teheran for two years, seeing most of his starts. When he turned sixteen in January the Braves increased their interest and made him the top target. îWeíre extremely happy,î said Almaraz, who has seen Teheran four times himself in person. ìThis kid is some type of talent. Julio is a power arm. Heís everything we look for in a pitching prospect. Heís a very special prospect because heís so young and he has the pitchability that not many young kids have. Heís a right-handed pitcher that just has an idea of how to pitch.î îHe commands three pitches in the strike zone, and they are all average to above average pitches. To find a pitcher with command for these pitches is very rare. Heís the best 16-year-old Iíve ever seen that possesses both command and the stuff at the same time.î
The Braves haven't really made a big splash in the international free agent market since signing Elvis Andrus back in 2005. They were rumored to have an interest in Francisco Pena, the brother of ex-Braves farmhand Tony Pena Jr. last year but the Mets signed him. This year the Braves are rumored to be after the top two arms in the class. According to Chris Kline at Baseball America, the Braves have been connected with Julio Tehran and Carlos Flores. I've done a bit of searching around and this is what I can tell you about the two. Teheran is a right-hander out of Columbia and is considered the top arm out of this year's class. The 16-year old works in the 88-91 mph range with has fastball to go along with a pretty good curve, and his best pitch, a plus changeup. There are two opinions on Teheran's future. Some scouts believe his arm action will limit him to throwing around 91 mph and he will become a back-of-the-rotation starter while others believe he could bring his velocity up to the 93 mph range and become a middle-of-the-rotation starter. It would probably take upwards of $1 million to sign him and the Yankees are the other team that is a favorite to land him. Flores is in a little stranger of a situation. His agent is keeping him from every team except one, which happens to be the Braves. Other teams are now going to the commissioner's office to allow them to see the workouts. Flores says he is 16-years old but other reports have him three or four years older. He is being referred to as the phantom because it seems that only the Braves even know where he is since he could be in Florida right now instead of his native Venezuela. The southpaw throws 90-91 mph with a plus breaking pitch and changeup to go along with a lot of projection. He may take as much as $2 million to sign and I don't know if I could see the Braves dishing out that much for an international free agent.
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