Sun Trust Park has Broken Julio Teheran
Julio Teheran has been exceptionally bad at Sun Trust Park this season. He’s been pretty good on the road, but his home numbers skew his overall stats. So who is the real Julio? Is his home park ruining his otherwise decent season, or is he just controlling the crazy while on the road?
Perhaps the more important question, as we approach the July 31 trade deadline, is: should the Braves shop Teheran, or can we expect him to recover his status as team ace?
A Look at Splits
Teheran’s overall ERA is 4.79. That’s… not great.
Through 57 road innings, he sports a stellar 2.53 ERA, and batters are only slashing .221/.293/.373; his wOBA allowed is a passable .289. Pair that with a respectable 2.15 K/BB ratio, and it starts to paint a clear picture. Road Julio looks like the Old Julio.
Sadly, his home numbers are not quite so appealing. Teheran is limping into the All-Star break with a 7.58 ERA through 46.1 innings. He’s allowing a .293/.374/.537 slash line and a .384 wOBA. He looks like an entirely different pitcher.
Left handed hitters are crushing him at home. Against lefties in Sun Trust Park, Julio is issuing over six BB/9 and striking out only four per nine innings. He has an egregious 9.45 FIP. There is, sadly, nothing positive to say about how he has fared against left-handers at home. Oddly, he’s not nearly as atrocious against lefties on the road. While he’s giving up a laughable 3.5 home runs/game to lefties at home, he’s only allowed 0.75/game to lefties on the road. For left-handed hitters – against Julio, at least – Sun Trust Park is definitely a hitters’ park.
Meanwhile, against righties at home, Teheran has been a bit unlucky. He has a spectacular 5.0 K/BB ratio (compared to a horrid 0.75 K/BB against lefties). He also has an inexplicable .343 BABIP allowed by righties at home: almost .100 full points higher than lefties. In other words, right-handed hitters are just getting a bit lucky against him. In fact, his FIP against righties at home is perfectly in line with his road FIP.
To recap: Lefties destroy him, and righties have been lucky. So is it really as simple as saying, “Sun Trust Park has broken Julio Teheran”?
Maybe. Teheran’s road numbers actually look pretty much in line with the rest of his career. His slash lines and peripherals are basically the same as they’ve always been.
But it’s not just that Julio has been really bad at Sun Trust Park. It’s that he historically was better at Turner Field than on the road. Over the course of his career, he’s averaged a less than a 3.50 FIP at home; this season, at Sun Trust, he’s up to 6.91. 6.91! Take a guy who pitched all his games in the cavernous Marlins Park and move him to Coors Field, and watch his stats balloon. That’s basically what’s happened to Julio. After nine home starts, nothing suggests that’s going to change.
To Trade or To Keep?
So, if you’re Atlanta Braves GM John Coppollela, do you trade him? Do you hope that teams see his road ERA and realize he could be stellar in a pitcher-friendly park? Or do you keep him and hope he can figure out Sun Trust?
If Sun Trust Park truly is the hitters park it appears to be through the first half of 2017, the smart move is to make a trade. Julio is young, controllable, and still very good in most other parks. He could fetch a solid return and, for the right team, he could be a top-of-the-rotation starter. But, if you’re the Braves, after watching him give up 6+ runs in fpur of his nine home starts, there isn’t a ton of evidence suggesting Sun Trust should be his long-term home.
Special thanks to Fangraphs.com and Baseball-reference.com for providing statistics used in this post.