2018 Projection: Can Julio Teheran Rebound Or Is He Again Destined To Disappoint?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We all know that Julio Teheran was one of the bigger disappointments of 2017, struggling with home runs (1.48 HR/9) and compiling ugly numbers across the board:

188.1 IP
11 Wins
4.49 ERA
1.37 WHIP
151 Strikeouts (7.22 K/9)
72 Walks (3.44 BB/9)
40.00% Groundball Rate
.281 BABIP

Obviously home runs weren’t the only issue, but playing the year at 27-years old and enjoying an impressive spring (1.29 ERA, 1.14 WHIP over 14.0 IP) there will likely be some bounce back hype.  Is that a fair expectation?  Should we overlook the impressive numbers?  Let’s take a look:

 

Strikeouts
This has never Teheran’s forte, holding a career 7.67 K/9.  While he’s shown more upside in the past (career 10.3% SwStr%), he wasn’t getting many swings and misses last season (9.4% SwStr%).  He wasn’t getting the same number of swings and misses with his slider (16.70% Whiff%, after marks of 23.22% and 22.56% the previous two years).  At the same time, even if he improved is there much to get excited about?

Teheran’s career best was an 8.24 K/9, the only time he owned a K/9 above 8.00, and that came back in 2013.  Even while going well this spring he’s managed 7 K over 14.0 innings of work.  Considering the other options around the league, he’s never going to give you an advantage.

 

Control
This was once his strongest skill, but look at the numbers over the past three seasons (BB/9):

  • 2015 – 3.27
  • 2016 – 1.96
  • 2017 – 3.44

Sure there’s going to be hope that he can rediscover his elite walk numbers but it’s impossible to bank on it.

 

Home Runs
Last season’s mark obviously looks horrendous, and you can argue that it was skewed by his home ballpark, but it’s not like he was doing a good job of keeping the ball in the ballpark on the road (HR/9):

  • Home – 1.63
  • Road – 1.33

The owner of a 37.1% career groundball rate, this is a problem that simply isn’t going to go away.

 

Road Regression?
Last season Teheran did carry a 3.14 ERA on the road, however a .269 BABIP and 83.7% strand rate indicate that the number was aided by a lot of luck.  We aren’t going to say he’s as bad as his home strand rate (64.4%), but with the home run issues and the risk of a road regression it’s easy to envision the numbers getting ugly.

 

2018 Projection
190.0 IP, 11 W, 4.55 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 159 K (7.53 K/9), 70 BB (3.32 BB/9)

 

Conclusion
We all know that someone in our draft/auction may be willing to pay for the perceived name value of Teheran (even though his current ADP of 241.0 doesn’t indicate as such).  Even in the later rounds, the lack of strikeouts and risk of home run issues makes him virtually unusable.  There are simply going to be options with a higher upside available that are better gambles to take.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason Rankings:

Position
Standard League
OBP League
Catchers03/14/1802/02/18
First Basemen01/08/1802/09/18
Second Basemen01/15/1802/13/18
Shortstops03/21/1802/27/18
Third Basemen03/09/1803/06/18
Outfielders1-20: 03/18/18

21-40: 03/19/18
1-20: 03/12/18

21-40:
Starting Pitchers1-20: 03/24/18

21-40: 03/24/18
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Relief Pitchers02/12/18--

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