Red Sox: Julio Teheran is no Ace

Jun 25, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran (49) throws a pitch against the New York Mets in the fourth inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 25, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran (49) throws a pitch against the New York Mets in the fourth inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

Upon closer examination, Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran is far from the No. 1 pitcher that the Red Sox are seeking.

In this article, written by my esteemed colleague Sean Penney, eye pleasing, yet, superficial statistics were presented regarding Atlanta Braves pitcher Julio Teheran.

I want to be impeccably clear that despite the pretty statistics, further research depicts a far different pitcher than the one masquerading as an “ace.” Teheran is far from an ace and he likely profiles as a third starter in the American League. The nauseating thought of giving up Moncada or Benintende is beyond ludicrous, unless the trade is for Jose Fernandez.

Upon looking deeper at Teheran’s career, there are more red flags present than one will find at a bullfight, and it is my intention to address the most problematic.

First, Teheran has as large a discrepancy between his FIP and his ERA as I have ever encountered. FIP and ERA are typically in remarkable agreement, and when they are not, specifically when one’s FIP is much larger than one’s ERA, it indicates that said pitcher has been the beneficiary of short-term fluctuations in luck. The premise behind FIP is to eradicate these short-term fluctuations in luck, both positive and negative, and, as a result, provide a much better indicator, and predictor of performance than ERA.

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Specifically, FIP removes the short-term fluctuations in Batting Average of Balls in Play, by assuming a league-average value for said statistic, as these fluctuations have nothing to do with “skill,” but are primarily the result of “luck.” The league average for BABIP is around .297, and given a substantial enough sample size, practically all pitchers will be within a few points of this value; however, for short periods, luck can render this value significantly higher or lower. When the FIP is larger than the ERA, the pitcher has been the beneficiary of good luck, and when the FIP is smaller than the ERA, it indicates that the pitcher has been the victim of bad luck.

While Teheran’s 2016 ERA of 2.46 looks spectacular, upon further review, his FIP is 3.68. Remember that I said that the league average for BABIP, which is largely outside of the pitcher’s control, is .297; Teheran’s BABIP for 2016 is .209, an enormous dissimilarity, and indicates that significant regression is imminent.

In fact, Teheran has a career ERA of 3.30, yet has a career FIP of 3.88. If you have been paying attention, Teheran has been “lucky” for his entire career, as he sports a well-below average .275 BABIP. By these values, Teheran is a below-average pitcher, who has been the beneficiary of uncanny luck.

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Rumor has it that the Braves may demand Moncada or Benintende; however, that deal only makes sense if the Atlanta Hawks are sending over Paul Milsap and Al Horford as well.

Second, according to, when Teheran entered the Big Leagues in 2011, his average fastball velocity was 93.0 mph. In 2016, his average fastball velocity sits at 90.5 mph. In addition, this precipitous descent in velocity has not occurred all at once, enabling explanation via an injury or a dead-arm period; quite the contrary, his velocity readings have steadily trended downward to reach the paltry value at which it now sits.

The following statistic was taken from and should indicate with unmitigated clarity that Teheran profiles as a number three starter in the American League. Teheran began functioning as a full-time starting pitcher in 2013, and since that time, he is 44th in WAR for pitchers, despite being 11th in innings pitched.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Such a profile is characteristic of a pitcher who has accumulated worth by devouring innings; however, his performance throughout said innings has been relatively nondescript, producing average metrics while profiling as a third starter. Any team hoping to acquire him must determine if he is the “Ace” suggested by his ERA or the innings eating substandard starting pitcher indicative of his FIP. I already have secured the solution and I pray that Mr. Dombrowski does as well.

In case one remains unconvinced as to Teheran’s myriad question marks, I will now present data that are more concrete on why Teheran is not needed in Boston. It is communal information that pitching in the American League is a considerably tougher undertaking than facing the pitcher in the Senior Circuit. In fact, for Teheran, it has been an exponentially more difficult assignment.

Teheran has accumulated the following statistics during interleague play: 72 IP, 16 HR, an FIP of 5.77, a 17.8% Strikeout Rate, and an 8.9% Walk Rate. It is frequently said the past performance is the best indicator of future success.

Teheran has also pitched far better in Atlanta than he has on the road, another disconcerting apprehension.

Teheran has accumulated the following career statistics while toeing the slab in Atlanta: 374.1 IP, 38 HR, an FIP of 3.32, a 23.5% Strikeout Rate, and a 6.6% Walk Rate.

While away from Atlanta, Teheran has produced the following metrics: 357 IP, 50 HR, an FIP of 4.22, an 18.8% Strikeout Rate, and a 6.9% Walk Rate.

Lastly, the splits that are attributable to him whether he is facing a left-handed batter or a right-handed batter are enormous.

Against righties, Teheran has engendered the following statistics: 384.1 IP, 33 HR, an FIP of 2.83, a 25.3% Strikeout Rate, and a 5.0% Walk Rate.

When facing southpaws, Teheran has generated the following career numbers: 347 IP, 55 HR, an FIP of 4.79, a 17.0% Strikeout Rate, and an 8.5% Walk Rate.

Next: Red Sox Christian Vazquez should worry? No, Sir!

Mr. Penney eloquently indicated that one benefit to acquiring Teheran is that he is relatively cheap and will remain under Red Sox control until at least 2019. In addition, he mentioned, “shopping at Target.” I must admit that I am not a big shopper however, I am cognizant of one of the most fundamental doctrines of shopping: you get what you pay for.