Gohara shows upside -- and youth -- in debut

Hard-throwing lefty displays nasty stuff, but was hurt by walks

Gohara shows upside -- and youth -- in debut

ATLANTA -- Armed with a high-octane fastball and an elusive slider, Luiz Gohara established himself as one of the Braves' most intriguing prospects while earning the unique distinction of becoming one of the few pitchers who has advanced from the Class A Advanced level to the Majors within one season.

Provided an opportunity to legitimize the hype as he made his Major League debut at SunTrust Park on Wednesday afternoon, Gohara displayed why he's arguably the most physically talented of all of the Braves pitching prospects who have made it to Atlanta. But at the same time, the 21-year-old southpaw showed his youth, issuing a few costly walks, and was introduced to the unforgiving nature of big league hitters as the Rangers claimed a 12-8 win in the first game of a doubleheader.

"He's got good arm strength," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "His arm works really well. The secondary stuff was good. It's like with most young guys, it's going to boil down to command."

The Braves nixed their initial plan to allow Gohara to spend time in the bullpen before possibly getting a start later this month. But after this debut, Snitker would not commit to giving another start to the big southpaw, who has totaled 127 2/3 innings this year -- nearly 50 more than his career high.

This was Snitker's first look at Gohara, who began this season with Class A Advanced Florida then steadily showed why he now ranks as the eighth-best prospect in the Braves' fertile system, per MLBPipeline. The young hurler from Brazil possesses a frame that could lead him to be described as a young CC Sabathia.

"I feel really good to be here with the team," Gohara said. "It took a lot of steps for me to get here. I worked hard, and it feels pretty good to be with the Braves."

Though Gohara's stuff was impressive, he was unable to overcome three of the four walks issued as he allowed the Rangers six earned runs and lasted just four innings. His 83-pitch performance was marred as he opened the third inning by issuing a walk to Rangers starter Miguel Gonzalez, who had never recorded a hit or drawn a walk in any of his previous 18 career plate appearances. Two more walks to open a fourth inning that included a Brett Nicholas double and Will Middlebrooks triple sealed the pitcher's fate.

"Sometimes it gets away from them, and they're not experienced enough to reach back and fall back on anything to try to right the ship," Snitker said. "I read line scores and read reports from the Minor Leagues and it happened to him there, too. But you've got to like the stuff and the competitiveness. You can tell he's not scared and he's got the stuff to get Major League hitters out. It's just a matter of refining it and the command."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.