2011 Top Pirates Prospects: #1 – Jameson Taillon

The Pirates Prospects 2011 Prospect Guide was released last week, featuring 237 prospect reports, interviews with Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie, Zack Von Rosenberg, and Zack Dodson, the 2011 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, the top ten prospects will be released on the site.

Be sure to purchase your copy of the book by clicking “Buy Now” at the bottom of this page (or to the right).

To recap the countdown so far:

10. Colton Cain
9. Zack Von Rosenberg
8. Jeff Locke
7. Rudy Owens
6. Bryan Morris
5. Luis Heredia
4. Stetson Allie
3. Tony Sanchez
2. Starling Marte

We conclude the countdown with the number one prospect, Jameson Taillon.  There will be a chat on Tuesday about the 2011 Prospect Guide, the top 10 prospects, and any other topic.  Go here to submit your questions early.

1. Jameson Taillon, RHP

Taillon could become the first ace the Pirates have had since Doug Drabek.

In 2009, the Pirates avoided several highly ranked prep pitchers to take Tony Sanchez in the first round, and load up on over-slot deals in the later rounds. That’s why it was a surprise in 2010 when they not only selected Taillon with the second overall pick, but ended up giving him a $6.5 M signing bonus, which was the largest in franchise history.

Taillon is definitely worth the selection and the money. He comes from the same Texas region as talented pitchers such as Josh Beckett and 2006 Philadelphia Phillies first round pick Kyle Drabek. He has also been described as being better than Beckett was when he was in high school. For that reason, Taillon projects to be the future ace of the Pirates, and possibly the first the team has had since Doug Drabek in the early 90s.

The reason for the hype comes from the arsenal Taillon already has to work with. He can touch 99 MPH with his fastball, and consistently works in the 93-95 MPH range, even in the late innings. He also throws a curveball and a slider, which like his fastball, are both plus pitches. He has a good changeup, although he didn’t have much use for the pitch in high school.

Taillon could move straight to West Virginia in 2011 for full season ball, although it’s more likely that the Pirates keep him in extended Spring Training for a little while. He needs some work on his secondary pitches, as he didn’t need to use them often in high school. Other than that, Taillon is extremely polished for a prep pitcher, which combined with his pitches and size, means that he could move through the system like a college pitcher. The Pirates probably won’t rush him, but there is a chance that Taillon could be in the majors by June 2013, possibly even stepping in as their ace of the future.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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