Braves may have two aces in Alex Wood and Julio Teherán

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LOS ANGELES, April 18, 2014 — The 2014 baseball season is still in its infancy, but the first place Atlanta Braves’ one and two starters, Julio Teherán and Alex Wood, are looking like one of the best one-two punches in the game right now.

The Atlanta Braves lost Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen to elbow injuries before the season even began. Many questioned if the Braves would have the pitching necessary to compete with the Washington Nationals. The Braves would need good pitching from Teherán and Wood. Both were expected to be good, but so far, they are killing expectations.

Teherán, 23, and Wood, also 23, have thrown together 55 innings with a combined 1.072 WHIP. Wood is sporting a stellar 24 strikeouts in his 27 innings of work.

Alex Wood was drafted by the Braves in the second round of the 2012 draft out of the University of Georgia. The left hander made at total of 24 starts in the minors before getting called up in 2013. Over those 24 starts, only one of which was at the AAA level, Wood compiled a 0.994 WHIP to go with a 114:31 K:BB ratio 114.2 innings.

Wood made his MLB debut as a reliever for the Braves on May 30, 2013. He split time in the bullpen and as a starter last year, but his WHIP was 1.446 as a starter. He eventually ended the season in the bullpen.

Julio Teherán was signed as a free agent out of Colombia in 2007 at the age of 16. He made his MLB debut at the age of 20 in May of 2011, but he spent most of that year and the following year in the minors. After posting a 1.216 WHIP over five minor league seasons as a starter, Teherán broke camp in 2013 with the Braves.

Teherán made 30 starts last year and lived up to his hype as a prospect. He posted a 1.174 WHIP and 170 strikeouts over 185.2 innings.

Wood and Teherán were expected to be the number four and three starters, respectively, when Spring Training opened. Now forced to be the aces of the rotation, the two have performed spectacularly, perhaps too spectacularly.

As it stands, the Braves look like they have two gems on their hands with bright futures. Whether those bright futures pan out is a question that only time can answer, but if the two can hold up this year, the Braves and Nationals could be in for a good fight throughout the summer for the NL East pennant.

Kevin J. Wells is the Sports Editor for Communities Digital News. He also writes about Major League Baseball, punk rock music and food. Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball

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