Julio Teheran's semi-charmed life

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/8846/" data-ylk="slk:Julio Teheran">Julio Teheran</a> has done little wrong the last six weeks (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Julio Teheran has done little wrong the last six weeks (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Call over the waitress, let’s make this simple: I’ll have what Julio Teheran is having. The Atlanta righty must be doing something right, even if it’s not obvious.

Teheran grabbed another victory Thursday, holding the Pirates to two runs (one earned) over six innings. It’s the latest strong turn in what’s been an epic eight-start run — since the beginning of May, Teheran has an 0.81 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. Those are Wiffle Ball numbers.

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Alas, those ratios aren’t supported by the secondary stuff. Teheran has a modest 32 strikeouts over that span, along with 22 walks. Normally when you see that type of K/BB ratio, you run for the hills. He hasn’t allowed a home run in those eight starts, which is incredibly fortunate. Somehow, the league is batting just .137 against Teheran over that span.

Teheran’s walk and strikeout rates are similar to what he posted last year when his ERA was a shade under 4. His average fastball is 89.9 mph. He’s enjoying the lowest home-run rate of his career. FIP suggests an ERA of 4.20; SIERA spits out a scary 4.98 number.

In unsophisticated leagues, this is the type of guy you try to trade, citing the ERA and the recent starts. In a league where people actually know how to use the internet, your options might be limited. Perhaps you keep Teheran active but on the shortest of leashes, ready to bail at the slightest bit of trouble. Most pitchers with his velocity, strikeout, and walk profile aren’t even worth rostering in an ordinary mixed league.

Yes, the division is tame enough. Sure, the Braves are a solid support cast. And it’s nice that Atlanta is careful with Teheran’s assignments, viewing him as a 5-6 inning pitcher at most. This is not someone you want working deep in games.

The upcoming schedule is ordinary: Mets (17th in runs), Cubs (10th). Do what you need to do. I have a few Teheran shares, some in leagues that don’t allow trading, and I’m giving him the shortest leash possible. That ERA isn’t anywhere close to real. Jagged numbers can’t be far away.

Another Junior comes alive in Toronto

When Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was demoted in mid-April, no one could blame the Blue Jays. He had a .175 average and a .525 OPS. Gurriel needed something, even just a shot of confidence.

Toronto recalled Gurriel in late May and the results have been smashing. He pounded out another three hits (and a homer) in Thursday’s romp over Baltimore. He’s played 18 games since the return, slashing .343/.397/.716 with six homers. A .386 BABIP has helped the cause, but he’s also making some of that luck (hard-hit rate has spiked, and his strikeout rate has been cut in half).

Gurriel is taking over as the team’s No. 3 batter, and he qualifies at three Yahoo positions (second, short, outfield). He’s long gone in the deeper leagues, but you can still jump on board in the medium and shallow mixers. He currently trades at 35 percent.

The case for Framber Valdez

It’s easy to get lost on the Astros roster, a star-studded team of established veterans, undeniable stars, and buzzy prospects. But Framber Valdez has quietly come into value this year, and now we’re especially intrigued, as he’s entered the starting rotation.

Valdez worked seven strong innings against Baltimore last week (1 R, 7 K) and will stick in the rotation for now. He’s at home against Toronto for Saturday. If you’re looking for a streamer pick or a temp-to-perm guy, Valdez is still available in 62 percent of Yahoo leagues.

The big challenge for Valdez is keeping the walks in check — he has a career walk rate of 4.76/9 over 70 innings. This year he’s cut it to 3.55, along with an ordinary strikeout rate (7.6). Some of the visuals against Baltimore spark my interest; he was throwing a screwball that was practically unhittable. Of course, he can’t always command that pitch.

Bottom line, we believe in the Astros special sauce, especially at home. Pitcher’s park, quality defense, and whatever else the Astros mix in their voodoo stew. I’ll be making some scouting notes on this turn.

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