<
>
Insider

Atlanta's best move might be keeping Julio Teheran

Julio Teheran is 14th in the National League in strikeouts with 92. Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Braves' hot streak continued Thursday after Brian Snitker was ejected. Here was his argument -- after a play at the plate was reviewed. The Braves versus the Mets sure feels different than it did three weeks ago, writes David O’Brien.

That's seven wins in the past eight games for the Braves, a notable turn for a team that was on a trajectory to have a negative run differential somewhere in the range of 300 earlier this season. This shift, in itself, could be enough reason for Atlanta to pump the brakes on its high-volume roster turnover as it prepares for a move into a new ballpark next spring. The Braves want to be able to state credibly to the fan base that the worst is over with and that the roster anchors, most notably Freddie Freeman, will remain in place.

But Atlanta does have an interesting trade chip in Julio Teheran, the 25-year-old staff ace who has had a strong first half to the season. In 15 starts, Teheran has a 2.66 ERA, with 24 walks and 92 strikeouts in 98 innings, the sort of strikeout-to-walk ratio that would've gained a lot of attention before Clayton Kershaw blew up all prior standards for excellence. Teheran also is getting extra-credit points from rival executives for doing some of the best work of his young career while playing for a team that entered the season with virtually no chance for making the playoffs. For a lot of players, it's easier to maintain concentration when everything around them is going well, and for Teheran to do what he’s doing on a bad team isn’t going unnoticed.

But in the eyes of some evaluators, Teheran still needs a more extensive track record before they are willing to give up a big-time package of players. To some evaluators, Teheran is a lot closer to being Shelby Miller -- a pitcher suited to the middle or the back end of a rotation than an ace -- than he is to being Cole Hamels.