Go back and re-read all those glowing and glorious Julio Teheran scouting reports from 2010 and 2011. The scouts and prospect hounds knew what they were doing. It's all happening for the 22-year-old righty in 2013. Welcome to the cover of Closing Time.
Teheran's six innings against Arizona on Friday were a thing of beauty: six scoreless innings, four hits, one walk, 10 strikeouts. Here's some video to keep you company. It's the 11th time he's allowed three runs or less in his last 12 turns; if you grade all starting pitchers over the last two months, he ranks as a Top 12 option. Teheran's ERA is down to 3.12, his WHIP trimmed to 1.19.
To watch Teheran is to observe an artist at work. According to Pitch f/x data, he's currently throwing four pitches regularly (two and four-seam fastballs, a slider and curve) and he mixes in a change when he's bored. He hardly ever walks anyone (just 16 unintentional passes all year) and he knows how to induce swings on bad pitches. I don't know what the Braves plan to do if their six best starters become healthy at the same time in 2013, but I can't see Teheran losing his gig. Incendiary stuff like this cannot be ignored.
If I were re-shuffling all the starting pitchers this second, I'd have Teheran in the $17-18 range. And let's have some fun over the next couple of weeks, when Teheran faces the Marlins twice. Welcome to the Circle of Trust, kid.
• We've been through the Johnny Cueto fire drill before, so this is going to be a review for many of you. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Cueto threw just 29 pitches in his Friday start at Arlington before departing with soreness in his right lat muscle. He's already been on the DL twice this year due to the same injury, and the Reds didn't sound optimistic after the game. "It's discouraging for him, and us," manager Dusty Baker told the team's official site. "We'll just have to go back to the drawing board." Cueto will be re-examined by team doctors back in Cincinnati on Saturday.
Tony Cingrani becomes the pickup of interest if Cueto needs any downtime. Pay no mind to Cingrani's uneven relief effort Friday (4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 6 BB, 3 K); it came in Texas and under unusual circumstances. His 2013 body of work speaks for itself, especially in the starting rotation. He's awaiting your call in 75 percent of Yahoo! leagues. San Francisco (home) and Milwaukee (road) are next up on the schedule, be it for Cueto or Cingrani.
• Speaking of injuries you know by heart, you'll never guess who got hurt in the Boston-Toronto match. Yep, that Stephen Drew fellow. A tight hamstring took Drew out of the game in the fourth inning, and if he needs a DL stint, we could see Jose Iglesias back at shortstop. Boston would then have to make a decision at third; perhaps Will Middlebrooks (two homers and four walks in eight Triple-A games) could get a reprieve.
The Red Sox and Blue Jays combined for 12 runs in Friday's affair and the rest of the weekend could be similar. Boston's been the top scoring team in the majors for most of the year, while Toronto has averaged five runs a game since May 1. Esmil Rogers and Felix Doubront have their work cut out for them Saturday at Fenway.
• Matt Harvey had to settle for a no-decision despite seven brilliant innings Friday (3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 11 K), but that's the least of our worries right now. The Mets might be starting to consider a scary phrase with Harvey 2013 (at least for our selfish purposes): innings cap.
Here's more from the New York Post:
Terry Collins expressed concern over the prospect of overusing the young starter.
“He was outstanding. He got us where we had to get to,’’ the Mets manager said. “As I said, we’ve got to start being careful here. This guy has thrown a lot of pitches and a lot of games and gotten us deep into a lot of games. We’ve got to be careful that we don’t just let him loose and overuse him.’’
Okay, there's nothing specific and exact there, but clip and save, file for the future. Obviously the Mets aren't going anywhere this year and they need to be prudent for the future. Harvey is on a pace for 249 innings, a number the team surely won't allow him to reach. Draw your own conclusions.
My gut feel, nothing more than an educated guess: look for Harvey to miss a few starts down the stretch in September, maybe 2-4 turns. Share your Harvey projection in the comments. (Sunday follow-up: sounds like 215-220 is the Harvey cap.)
• Let's take a second to appreciate the delicious keg-tapping doubleheader the Indians and White Sox played, an orgy of offense (46 runs, 59 hits). Chicago lost a five-run lead in the first game (rather quickly) then blew an 8-5 advantage in the ninth inning of the nightcap (thanks, Addison Reed). Freshly-activated Chris Perez worked in the first game and somehow recorded a perfect inning on just 11 pitches. Vinnie Pestano closed out the second victory, but if Perez is healthy those roles will flip shortly.
• The Padres still don't know when Jedd Gyorko (groin) will be able to return, which means we'll have to rough it with Logan Forsythe for a while. Forsythe was the hitting star in Friday's romp at Florida, collecting two singles, a homer and a stolen base. He's up to .303 for the season and has shown reasonable category juice over the last couple of years (nine homers, ten bags in 381 at-bats). You could do a lot worse for your mixed league middle infielder. The San Diego sleeper is owned in just three percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• If you believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, maybe you believe in Brian Roberts, too. The Orioles plan to activate the 35-year-old infielder prior to Sunday's game against the Yankees; he's coming back from a hamstring injury. Nothing was happening during his Triple-A rehab assignment (2-for-13), not that a four-game sample tells you much. The Orioles would love to see Roberts stay healthy and solidify the job, but they'll probably look for middle-infield help during the trading season as well.