ATLANTA -- Julio Teheran and Brandon Beachy arrived at Turner Field on Sunday to be recognized with the other prospects who were named the Braves' Minor League Pitchers and Players of the year. Both believe they could soon return as Major Leaguers.
"Obviously, I'd love to keep pitching [this year]," Beachy said. "But if that opportunity isn't there right now, if I continue to do what I've been doing, it will be there in the future."
While Teheran could be widely considered the game's top prospect this winter, Beachy undoubtedly was one of the game's most surprising prospects this summer. Two years after being found by the Braves while serving as a reliever in the Virginia Valley Summer League, the 24-year-old right-hander managed to produce the best ERA (1.73) among all Minor League pitchers this year.
After beginning this season as a reliever with Double-A Mississippi, Beachy continued to flourish as a starter. In the seven starts he made after being promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett, he went 2-0 with a 1.73 ERA.
Not bad, considering he completed about five innings in high school and didn't begin pitching until given a chance to be a closer for Indiana Wesleyan, an NAIA school. Braves scout Gene Kearns saw him pitch in the Virginia Summer League and then persuaded him to skip his senior season to take advantage of the chance to spend the final month of the 2008 season with Rookie level Danville.
"It might be surprising to a lot of people," Beachy said. "But I've never doubted my abilities. I achieved what I wanted to."
Teheran avoided the shoulder discomfort that plagued him in the past and combined to go 9-8 with a 2.59 ERA with Class A Rome, Class A-Advanced Myrtle Beach and Mississippi this year. The 19-year-old right-hander registered 159 strikeouts and issued 40 walks in 142 2/3 innings. There's seemingly a chance this highly regarded prospect could make his Major League debut as soon as next season.
"I'm going to come in with that mindset, but I've got a lot of work to do," Teheran said with Minor League outfielder Willie Cabrera serving as an interpreter.
Teheran was honored as the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year and Freddie Freeman, who turned 21 Sunday, was named the organization's Minor League Player of the Year.
This year's other honorees recognized before Sunday's game included:
Gwinnett: Craig Kimbrel (pitcher), Barbaro Canizares (player)
Mississippi : Beachy (pitcher), Cabrera (player)
Myrtle Beach: Randall Delgado (pitcher), Mycal Jones (player)
Rome: Arodys Vizcaino (pitcher), Philip Gosselin (player)
Danville: Carlos Perez (pitcher), Elmer Reyes (player)
Gulf Coast League: Dan Jurik (pitcher), Matt Lipka (player)
Dominican Summer League: Ignacio Geronimo (pitcher), Gerrado Reyes (player)
Heyward adding to top rookie credentials
ATLANTA -- Braves right fielder Jason Heyward spent this season's first two months as the leading candidate to be named the National League's Rookie of the Year. Now as writers are determining who will get their vote for this award, Heyward is once again padding his credentials in impressive fashion.
Heyward entered Sunday night's series finale against the Cardinals having batted .429 (36-for-84) over his past 21 games -- the second-best mark in the Majors during this span. The 21-year-old hit five homers and compiled a 1.199 OPS during this stretch.
He doubled off Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse in his first two at-bats Sunday. "He's having a super year for a rookie," manager Bobby Cox said. "He just does everything right."
Heyward entered Sunday leading all qualified National League rookies in on-base percentage (.395) and slugging percentage (.476). His .286 batting average ranked second to Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro's .312 mark.
Despite struggling throughout June with a thumb injury that sidelined him during the first two weeks of July, Heyward still ranks second with 68 RBIs. His 17 homers are three of the NL rookie-leading total posted by Marlins outfielder Mike Stanton.
Hanson not worried about individual wins
ATLANTA -- Tommy Hanson is one of just 15 Major League pitchers to post an ERA of 2.80 or better since July 9. The Braves right-hander is also the only member of this group that hasn't notched at least three wins during this span.
While posting a 2.77 ERA in 13 starts dating back to July 9, Hanson has gone 1-6. A lack of run support and a couple of blown saves have hurt the 24-year-old right-hander, who has at least managed to stay positive while encountering this long string of bad luck.
"As long as we win the games that I pitch, I'm going to be happy," Hanson said. "I could care less if it goes down under my record or not. As long as we win the game, that's fine by me."
The Braves have won just five of the past three games Hanson has started. Two of those victories have come over the course of his past three outings.
Since allowing 10 earned runs in the 10 innings that encompassed his final two starts in August, Hanson has worked 20 innings and allowed just four earned runs. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 11 of his past 14 starts.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.