Braves who could be second half All-Stars


Julio Teheran

The lone veteran Brave in the starting rotation, Teheran’s first half was a bit of an enigma. There were nights were he looked like he was pitching in a men’s slow pitch softball league, like in San Diego when he allowed three home runs in four innings. Home runs have been an Achilles heel for Teheran his entire career, but he is averaging nearly a home-run per start this season. Then there were days like May 3rd versus the New York Mets, where he would look unhittable over seven innings of scoreless work.

These type of ups and downs have been typical since Teheran came into the league in 2011, which makes predicting how the rest of his season will turn out quite a predicament. Nevertheless, there is reason to believe Teheran could anchor this rotation in the season’s second half.

Since his June 29th start against the Cardinals, his arm has looked a lot more lively than it was earlier in the season. His fastball, that was topping out at 88-89 back in May, was up to 92-93 in his final start before the break. Those three or four miles per hour may not seem like much, but they are a testament to how crisp his stuff is looking now and how the arm is feeling. He is 2-1, with a 2.50 ERA and 25 strikeouts in his four starts prior to the break.

The Braves rotation has exceeded all expectations. However, if they want their success to continue, they are going to need Teheran to look more like his old self consistently. He has the ability and the experience to carry this rotation, and I see that happening in the second half.

A.J Minter

Ever since Minter was in the farm system, there was a belief he could one day be closing ball games for the Braves. In his brief stint so far with the major league squad, those feelings have only been enhanced. He has already slowly taken over the reigns of the setup role with the occasional save opportunity included, and by the simple eye test, it is hard not to see the 24-year old lefty shutting the door at some point in the future.

Minter is 3-2, owning a 3.20 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP, with 11 holds and 4 saves in as many opportunities so far this year. Those ERA and WHIP numbers are not ideal for a closer, especially considering Arodys Vizcaino has been lights out in that role so far this season. Delving into it a little deeper though, Minter has been on fire as of late.

Outside of a miserable outing against Toronto, where he received the loss while allowing three earned runs in a third of an inning, Minter pitched five scoreless innings of one-hit ball with seven strikeouts in July. He was arguably even better in June. Only six batters reached base against him, two scoring while striking out fourteen in 12.1 innings pitched. He’s got A++ stuff and seems to be finding a groove. Minter will be crucial in the Braves success not just this season but many more to come.

Ronald Acuna Jr. 

Unless you go back to his minor league days, there are not going to be any stats that point to Acuna breaking out in the second half. This one is more of a gut-feeling. Acuna came into the season baseball’s #1 prospect and a leading candidate to take home the Rookie of the Year award in the National League. He has had his moments, like breaking a tie in extra innings at Yankee Stadium with a home run. But those moments have also come with some struggles and even more unfortunate, injuries.

With all that said, Acuna is a once in a generation type prospect for an organization. Injuries have not really allowed him to get his feet wet in the majors for an extended period of time. However, he does possess elite power, speed, and an endless motor. As long as the injury bug stays away in the second half, it is just a matter of time before Braves Country is on their feet every time he steps in the batter’s box. These finals 68 games of the season could be Acuna’s coming out party.

Acuna Matata!

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