Posted on August 18, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
Believe it or not, the future is starting to come together for the Atlanta Braves. After promoting top prospect Dansby Swanson to the big leagues on Wednesday, the Braves are set to welcome back from the DL two pitchers they are hoping will also be important to the franchise turning things around starting next year. On Thursday, the Braves activated closer Arodys Vizcaino after he missed more than a month with an oblique injury, and on Friday the team is expected to activate starting pitcher Julio Teheran, who went to the DL earlier this month with a lat strain.
Vizcaino has not quite been as dominant this season as he was last year, but he has converted 10 of 13 save opportunities for the Braves this year and remains a big part of Atlanta’s future plans. Had he not been on the DL during the two weeks leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, it would have been interesting to see if any team was willing to make the Braves an offer they couldn’t refuse for him, especially considering the haul of prospects the New York Yankees received for both Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller. However, the Atlanta front office said previously they were not looking to trade Vizcaino, who will be eased back into the closer’s role upon his return, with Jim Johnson continuing in that role for the time being.
As for Teheran, he’s expected to be activated on Friday, when he will start against the Washington Nationals. He allowed one run on three hits over five innings during a minor league rehab start at triple-A on Sunday, striking out five. Teheran will end up missing just over the minimum of 15 days. His performance dipped some in July in the starts leading up to the injury, but it was hard to find a more dominant starting pitcher in the majors in May and June. Teheran was also the subject of much trade speculation earlier in the summer, but the Atlanta front office made it clear that they intend to keep him.
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Obviously, it’s too late for the Braves to do anything of substance this season, as they currently have the fewest wins of any team in the majors. However, the return of both Vizcaino and Teheran, especially on consecutive days, combined with the presence of Swanson, gives the Braves a glimpse of the team they hope will get things turned around in the near future. Atlanta has seen quite a few young pitchers come to the majors through the team’s farm system this season, but few are as talented as Vizcaino and Teheran.
In addition to Swanson, Freedie Freeman, Ender Inciarte, and others, Vizcaino and Teheran are two of Atlanta’s biggest building blocks for the future. The Braves will undoubtedly be happy to see them healthy and back on the field for the rest of the season, as the organization’s future finally starts to take shape.