In his first season with the Outlaw Josey Wales, Julio Teheran wildly exceeded expectations and shared the Tastes Great wins crown with Springfield's Jake Odorizzi with 18 games won.
Julio Teheran left Clayton Kershaw, Jake Arrieta, Cory Kluber, Chris Sale, teammate Carlos Carrasco, Johnny Cueto, and Gerrit Cole all eating his dust in the wins department.
Just how did a pitcher with a 4.04 MLB ERA, a 4.84 NASBL ERA, and a card resembling the firebombing of Dresden win more games than any other Tastes Great pitcher not named Jake Odorizzi while playing for a sub-.500 team in the bottom half of the league in runs scored?
1) There's something to be said for taking the mound as often as possible. With 33 starts, Teheran took the mound slightly more than once every five games.
2) Earn a decision in a freakishly high 88% of his starts. Julio earned 29 decisions in 33 starts. Pitching a respectable, but not outstanding, 5 2/3 innings per start certainly contributed to the high decision rate, but it doesn't explain it all. Chalk up some dumb luck here.
3) Get run support. NASBL teams scored an average of 4.46 runs per game. The Wales averaged only 4.44 runs per game, but when Teheran took the mound Outlaw scored a blistering 5.12 runs per game. Chalk some of this up to dumb luck, but credit some of it up to Outlaw management making sure key batters played during Teheran's home starts after noticing his unexpected block I success.
4) Have a wildly unbalanced card. With a 40% on-base, 56% slugging and 5.7% homerun rate, the left side of Teheran's card does resemble the firebombing of Dresden. But the right side is actually respectable with 20% on-base, 22% slugging, and 2.0% homerun. While a highly unbalanced starting pitcher card is normally considered a disadvantage, Outlaw management noticed this right away and avoided starting Teheran against teams with strong left-handed lineups as much as possible.
5) Luck. More luck. Dumb luck. Smart luck. All kinds of luck.