Coming up through the Minor Leagues, Julio Teheran projected to be a front-end starter with big strikeout numbers. Through his first eight starts this season, that hasn't been the case. Yet he's been perfectly fine with a different approach on the mound.
Instead of aiming to blow everyone away, Teheran is settling in early with solid control. He has continued to improve in every start since a rough stretch to begin the season, with a masterful performance over 8 1/3 innings coming Monday night in a 5-1 win over the Twins.
Why has Teheran been successful without the strikeouts? It's pretty simple: his walks are way down.
After walking seven batters in his first three games, Teheran has walked just two in his last five starts. That's a stretch of 33.2 innings, 13 of which came in Colorado and Arizona, arguably the two most hitter-friendly parks in baseball.
On the season, Teheran's averaging just 1.63 walks-per-nine innings pitched. That's a great sign. His K/9 ratio of 5.44 is rather pedestrian, but as long as he continues to not give up free passes to the opposition, he will be just fine.
While Teheran's success on the mound probably shouldn't come as too big of a surprise following a dominant showing in the Dominican League and Spring Training, it didn't seem likely he would achieve such results with the formula he's used thus far.
The sky is the limit for Teheran, and he showed just how good he can be on Monday night with his best performance of the year, even if it was against a pretty mediocre Twins ball club.