Pirates Send Blake Taylor to Mets as PTBNL in Ike Davis Deal

The Pittsburgh Pirates have sent pitcher Blake Taylor to the New York Mets as the player to be named later in the Ike Davis trade. Taylor was a second round pick of the Pirates last year. He signed with the team on June 14th, and players can’t be traded within the first year of signing as a draft pick, so the deal had to wait until now to be completed. On April 18th, the Pirates sent reliever Zack Thornton and a PTBNL to the Mets in exchange for first baseman Ike Davis.

The left-handed Taylor was the 16th best prospect in the Pirates system coming into the season. He has been in Extended Spring Training this season. The 18-year-old is 6’3″ and has 94 MPH in the past, but works in the 89-92 range now and he has a curve ball that has the chance to be a plus offering. Taylor pitched 21 innings in the Gulf Coast League last year and allowed just seven hits, while walking nine and picking up 13 strikeouts. You can read more about him on his Pirates Prospects player page.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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R Edwards

What was first just a dumb trade, is now a horrible trade. Why did NH feel the need to pay this much for a guy like Ike Davis?? Davis’ value could not have been any lower as it was in mid-April – after 2 bad seasons and a terrible start in 2014. I cannot imagine there was a long line of other potential suitors for Davis. NH got fleeced, because he panicked. Just a terrible trade.

NH has done a great job of building up the farm system – but as far as making trades, not so much. Dickerson trade, Morris trade, and now this moronic trade. Resigning Garrett Jones would have been the better move. This is why I don’t want NH being a “buyer” next month – he does not have a track record of being a shrewd dealer.


Nice to see PP commenters are back in the “ZOMG! Neal is insane for trading the 16th best prospect for a proven powe hitter while ignoring our own system guys who’ve never done a damned thing at the MLB level but deaerve another chance because they’re dirt cheap,” mode.


I really don’t know what you and others on this blog are smoking – but it must be really good stuff…
Ike Davis had one good year – since then he is FAR from a PROVEN POWER HITTER – how many HRs has
he had in a Pirate uniform? – how many times has he come through with the game winning RBI?- why is
Cutch getting walked so often?

Look at is WAR – Fangraphs and Baseball Reference – the Bucs would be just as well off with Matt Hague at 1st.

Everyone is entitled to their own OPINION – but not their own FACTS.

FACT is Ike Davis should be benched – I blame the BMTIB for not having a Plan B for 1st base – Josh Bell – Mel Rojas – Anderew Lambo – Moving Walker to third and Pedro to 1st and starting Jay Hay at second…

BUT in the end none of that matters if they cannot figure out how to get the last three outs….

I am a worry wort I guess – nice to leave Miami with 2 wins – but the pitching staff is a mess – now at the back end – when a week or two ago we were panicked about the starters.


Correction lonely, YOU were panicked about the starters. The rest of us knew they weren’t bottom 5 in MLB or wherever they were in the stats a month ago. We figured they had some talent and eventually it would show up in results. 9 good starts and 2 bad starts since Cole went down and that ignores how much better they were doing in the 3 weeks before that.
Same thing with the bullpen now. They got back to the “lights out” quality were accustomed to last year and have now had a few hiccups recently. But the quality is still there and they’ll put it back together.
And this whole time they keep winning series (5-2-1 in the last month since the Yanks) and will be passing .500 very soon. Once Cole and Frankie come back, the team will be fine. Are they a lock for the playoffs? Obviously not, but they’ll be in the thick of it right until the end.
And the best news is you can sleep again since JaCoby wasn’t the PTBNL like you convinced yourself since the day of the trade. It’s Taylor instead, who yesterday was one of a dozen interesting pitching prospects that had a chance of contributing 5 years from now but instantly becomes the most talented guy we’ve traded since we gave ARam away to the Cubs.


Well it was not just me – our friend DK wrote a column demanding a trade for a quality starter NOW last Monday. Holding on to Blake Taylor until now would have given the Pirates a chip that they might have been able to package with another prospect or two to tempt the Cubs to part with Jeff S.

Tim seems to think the trade was OK – but trading a player “worth” a $1 Million or so in bonus money for a player with $0 value just does not seem to be a good deal – just think the Bucs could have done better.

I continue to be amazed with the tolerance fans have for Davis – he is a 0 WAR player [or worse] who will cots the Bucs $5M+ to keep for another year. The Pirate fan base had no tolerance for Marte during his slump and continues to slam Pedro [.6 WAR]. I don’t get it…


This was a poor trade for the Pirates. They are trying to go cheap at first base instead of going for a long time solution. Ike Davis is a platoon player who has no business batting clean-up for this team. The Pirates must have the worst clean-up hitter in all of baseball. Time and again he has batted with men on base and failed. This is only going to seem worse now that Polanco, Marte, and McCutcheon are batting ahead of him. Think about it, what team wins a world series with Ike Davis batting clean-up?

B Thomas

Who’s McCutcheon?


Lawrence…played for the Rams in the 70’s

Monsoon Harvard

Ike Davis will soon become a moot point because if Pedro Alvarez can’t improve his fielding and throwing he will be the first baseman.


Pop quiz – which of the four regular Pirate infielders ranks HIGHEST at his position for UZR/150 so far in 2014


Pedro makes plays – but yes he has throwing issues – he also is not well served when the 1st base solution cannot come up with a one hop throw that bounced thigh high…

My bigger issue with Davis is what we saw in the 10th – clean up hitters are not paid to draw walks – they are expected to drive in runs – I could care less about his OPS if he is not driving the ball and getting a homer every 20-30 ABs


Yeah I want baseball players who make more outs.

IC Bob

Give it some time two weeks ago you demanded we send down Marte as well. Three good games and Davis will look like the steal of the century


Not me – you have me confused with one of the Marte bashers – if Ike’s last name was Garcia and he was from Latin America he would be treated far differently than he is. He is getting a huge pass – and the good play of others is obscuring how little he contributes – with bat or glove.

Monsoon Harvard

I’m fine with Taylor. As long as it wasn’t a hitter it is no problem.

Nate James

And also, after a steady stream of hate about the Worley trade when it first happened, I am glad he shut people up today. That was always going to be a great trade in the pirates favor.


Too high a price to pay for a guy who should not be on the roster next year. The same fans who trashed Marte a couple of weeks ago – and GI Jones last year seem to be oddly silent on Ike – he had one good stretch – but take it away and he is hitting below .200 – and is killing lots of rallies.

Nate James

How is it too high? We gave up a rookie ball player for a solid 1B. Ike has the third best ObP on the team and has been playing solidly since coming here. I much prefer him to GI jones of last year. People need to realize that trades will never be graded until many years later. I liked Taylor, would have prefered Dickson to go, but we kept great depth in the farm system. Solid trade all around. Let’s go bucs!


What stat line are you reading – GI Jones was/is a better option at first – Blake Taylor could have been used to create a package for pitching help – but not now he is gone.

You are happy with a .230 hitting 1st baseman with 5 HRs? Who can’t field all that well BTW


Jones stats for 2014 are slightly better than Davis’, mainly because he has a little more power. Careerwise, Jones .776 OPS, Davis .764 OPS. Very similar. Davis is a better defensive player at 1B. Davis draws more walks, has a higher OB%, has 37 Ks (Jones has 59 Ks). Pretty close to a wash. However, Davis is 27 (nearing his peak). Jones will turn 33 next week (on the downside). Davis makes 3.1 million. Jones makes 4.5 million. Pirates have control of Davis for 2 or 3 more years. Jones can be a FA. A single injury can really set a player’s development back significantly. As bob said, the odds of Taylor being a quality ML starter are very slim. Pirates have plenty of pitching depth in the minors, and Taylor is at least 4 years away. So far I like the deal. Let’s wait till the end of the season for a better perspective.

IC Bob

You just described GI Jones. Davis fields quite well and gets on base at a high clip (unlike Jones). Jones is easily the worst 1B in the league. I watched him butcher 1B for the Bucs and have had the pleasure of watching him continue to do so for Marlins

R Edwards

Compare Jones numbers to Davis’ numbers this year – and if you say Davis has outproduced Jones, you are just fooling yourself. Davis is good for drawing walks – little else.


Go look at the stats for both players – ESPN or Baseball Reference will show you that Jones is having a very respectable season – they will also show you that Davis is right about where he was after his one good season at the Mets – nothing is better than it was over the previous 500 or so at bats – and no reason to think it will get better. Davis is a nice guy by all accounts and can get hot for short periods of time – but he is NOT a top 25 first baseman – to give up a young pitching prospect who was drafted in the second round last year for him is a VERY BAD deal IMHO


Career stats:

Garret Jones vs RHP 125 wRC+ / DRS -27, UZR -16.6

Ike Davis vs RHP 128 wRC+, / DRS +10, UZR 5.3


Not sure the data supports your “Davis fields quite well” claim – seems to me he butchers a play at least every third game – and GI was jerked around by Pittsburgh – shuttled back and forth between RF and 1st – seems to me that he is doing pretty well this year against RHP – which is what the Marlins brought him in to do.

Spa City

Considering that in the Pirates’ 130+ year history of ineffectiveness at 1B, Ike Davis is a breath of fresh air. Other than Willie Stargell’s decline years and Jake Beckley in the 1800s, have there been any memorably good 1Bmen? Richie Hebner had a few good years when I was in elementary school I suppose. Regardless… the Bucs needed Davis and he has worked out well so far (knock on wood).

Leefoo Rug Bug

In my lifetime, you had Dick Stuart, Donn Clendenon, Al Oliver, Sid Bream, Bob Robertson, Kevin Young, Jason Thompson and Stargell (and NOT in his declining years-he was playing 1b until he moved back out to LF to make room for Robertson).

All had some good years.

I honestly don’t remember Hebner playing much 1b for us. For the Phils, yes.

Spa City

Dick Stuart produced a whopping 7.8 WAR over 5 seasons with the Bucs. Clendenon had two or three good years, but he sure mixed in some terrible years, too. I remember Sid Bream, and if we are remembering the same player I am not sure how he could qualify as anything other than a mediocre player. I remember Stargell, too… he was great, but he only played 1B toward the end of his career, and there were only 5 seasons when he played more than half of his games at 1B. His best years, and 2/3 of his career was as an outfielder. (Stargell played mostly 1B in ’79 when he was co-MVP. But even Pirate fans usually admit that was a farce. Dave Winfield was so clearly the MVP in ’79 that the award was absurd.)

Anyway – we disagree about Pirate production by their 1Bmen historical, and that is okay. But if you judge the Bucs by other teams who have been around for over a century, I think you would agree that the Pirates have not produced much value at that position.

Lee Young

“I think you would agree that the Pirates have not produced much value at that position.”

Without checking BRef (too much research for me…lol), I am going to guess that we have. We haven’t had a Rizzo or Mattingly, etc, but we have mix and matched fairly well over the years at 1b. We had some lean years in the 80s, but overall, we have done well.


Spa City

Mattingly? We have barely even had an Ike Davis!

Leefoo Rug Bug

The Mets are collecting Pirate farmhands. Going to be interesting to follow their careers and see how they’re doing.

But, overall, i don’t mind this trade. i hope it works out okay for both teams.

Spa City

I am Outraged! OUTRAGED!!! Actually, that sounds like a perfectly reasonable trade, and Ike has been playing pretty well.


People complain we don’t make moves then we do and people are complaining

Leefoo Rug Bug

If we don”t make a trade, “we’re not doing enough” or “trade some of those good prospects you have”. Then when we make a trade, we gave up too much.

Taylor was barely a top 20 pitcher who has been injured most of this year. I consider that a good deal for a 1bman who has hit 32 HRs before.

I’m not a big Ike fan and would’ve loved to have seen Lambo seize the job, but, it is what it is.

Odds are Taylor will never be something special. He MAY, but the odds aren’t in his favor (or the Mets)


The same persons who complained when moves were avoided are now complaining about a move the FO made?

Nathan Swartz

I’m just super glad it wasn’t: Jones, Borden, Dickson, any catcher/IF prospect.
Would have loved it to be Arbet. Oh well. For now, this is great. 5 yrs from now…who cares? He would have been JABP dude.
Also, can we start calling Borden’s best pitch by the name of Lizzy? Ya know, cuz it cuts people down? Been sitting with that one for a while now.

Leefoo Rug Bug

I liked every part of your post but the ‘Lizzy’ part. That was a groaner. 🙂


Poor value for a marginal player like Ike Davis. I know Ike is currently hitting pretty well, but I have no faith in his ability to make this trade a win for the Buccos.


When healthy, Ike has shown an ability to be a good player. As for Taylor, the GREAT majority of middle 2nd rounders never turn out to be decent MLB players. He may be the exception but the odds are strongly against him. For example, here are the pitchers selected from 2006-09 within 7 spots of where Taylor was drafted:

2009: Brooks Pounders, Andy Oliver, Eric Smith, Garrett Gould, Bryan Berglund

2008: Seth Lintiz, Brad Hand, Robbie Ross, Tyson Ross, Josh Lindblom, Cody Adams, Tyler Stovall, Aaron Shafer

2007: Duke Welker, Josh Fields, David Kopp, Barry Enright, Scott Moviell, Jess Todd

2006: Michael Felix, Chris Tillman, Jeff Locke, Sean Watson, Brad Furnish, Brett Anderson, Steven Wright, Sean Black, Wade LeBlanc, Kevin Mulvey

So in total, out of 29 pitchers selected in an equivalent spot, only one (Tillman) is a good major leaguer at this point, while two (Locke and Anderson) have had their moments. How many of the above would you trade Ike Davis for? That tells you the value of a middle 2nd rounder.


I agree with your argument in general, but Tyson Ross is the best of the group. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/rossty01.shtml


Each draft class has a different level of talent so your comparison isn’t made on a level playing field. And you’ll probably see similar results if you based your observation on any pick after the top 15. Either way, none of that has anything to do with Blake Taylor’s potential. That potential is worth more to me than a powerless 1B that’s only worth anything when he’s drawing walks.

IC Bob

It beats the heck out of waht we were getting. The fact is Davis has improved our team and as far as I can tell we gave up nothing for him.


How – and since when is a second round draft pick with $0 – look at what the slotting amounts are for the second round – they are set based on expected long term value – not the spin of some wheel of fortune or roll of the dice.


Taylor at this point has no more potential than any of the other guys drafted in the middle of the second round. As for the various draft classes, the marginal differences balance out over four classes. Also last year’s class was generally regarded as a fairly weak one. If you want an even larger sample size, I’ll give you 10 or 12 years, but the result will be the same, i.e. that there is at least a 90% probability that a middle 2nd rounder will never be a good major leaguer.


But their not potential-less either. I have faith that more of those guys will find a role in the majors than the Ike Davis’ of the world. We know what he brings, it’s not going to get substantially better. Players rarely develop at 27, almost every player develops something at 19


Davis is a poor fielder with a questionable hit tool. He hits for power if he sells out his swing for power. He’s 27 years old. Davis is making $3.5M and will be arbitration eligible for the next two years. He may achieve arbitration awards which would increase his salary to a degree that it exceeds his baseball value. Davis has produced 2.3 fWAR during the last four seasons.

He’s risky. I strongly prefer having Lambo and Taylor over Davis. The future will not take care of itself. The FO most take care of the future.

Leefoo Rug Bug

Ike’s risky, but Taylor and Lambo aren’t?

I LOVE Lambo, but he isn’t a sure thing, by no means.

Taylor was ‘meh’ to me.


No one said they were riskless. But I see a ton more 19 year old pitchers in the minors pan out as valuable major leaguers than I do 27 year old 1st basemen fix themselves while in the show


I discussed risk above. I never claimed Taylor and Lambo are riskless.


He is one questionable 19 yr old


19 yr olds in the minors can answer their questions much more often than 27 yr olds in the majors

IC Bob

Pirates got a player who has an OBP above 350 (2nd best on the team I believe) for a minor league middle reliever and a 18yr old lefty who is at least 4 years away if he makes it (which is doubtful). I think the Pirates did pretty well. As for Lambo there is no way you could bring him up when he had hit 200 hundred against minor league pitching with zero HRs in his last 200 ABs. Davis is decent and way better then Ishikawa. He gives us professional ABs and when a tough lefty comes we can PH Sanchez. One last thing Lambo is a terrible 1B that would likely have cost us games while we waited for his bat to maybe come around, No this trade looks really good right now to me.


You don’t think the Pirates will need pitchers 4 years from now? Have we learned nothing from this year? Vance freaking Worley just had to make an appearance from baseball purgatory, pitching will always be needed. Replacement player value at 1B is much easier to find than a pretty solid projectable lefty.


Every player carries risk as a consequence of his skills, age, injury history, etc. Taylor has a risk profile; Davis has a risk profile. Both are questionable. The questions refer to the risk attributable to each.

Davis’ history suggests he’s very questionable, that he’ll fail. Moreover, he’s now in his peak years. This is as good as we can expect him to be. His current fWAR: 0.1.


Davis may fail to become a good player but at least he has some value. The probability is over 90% that Taylor will never even be a marginal major leaguer.


Way to pull a number straight out of your ass. I hope it didn’t hurt too bad. He’s a projectable high school lefty with mid 90’s potential. The Pirates have done very well at choosing arms in the draft. At worst, he moves to the bullpen.


Davis has had negligible value over the last four seasons. He’s been slightly better than a replacement player. The probability of Taylor becoming a good ML pitcher is all but unknown. His first season lacked the data necessary to produce an adequate projection of his future ML value. It is a SSS problem. The claim that 90% of prospects fail to become good MLers refers to the class: All prospects. It does not refer to Taylor. Taylor’s projection of future ML value is not equal to the All Prospects class. You are committing the fallacy of division:


Leefoo Rug Bug

SteveW….agree…I would think the odds of Davis repeating his 32 HR season is better than the odds of Dickson ever making it.


Lol yeah statistics usually say that true being there is 35,19 year old drafted every June by one team


Don’t mind giving up a lefty who has lots of questions about control. Won’t see him for years anyhow


taylor could well be something special in 4-5 years but by then our window may very well be closing. Davis gives us the elusive 1B we have been seeking literally forever. Consider, Kevin Young probably has more ABs at 1B than anyone since Sid Bream and Bream nothing special either. A great deal IMHO.


Look at the guys stats – he is negative on WAR and on pace for less than 15 HR…


Sucks. I had hoped the Pirates would have used Lambo at first instead of overpaying for Ike Davis.

Leefoo Rug Bug

Stevez….so you wanted Lambo to start the season as our 1bman even after that horrid spring training?

Otherwise, once he got hurt, we HAD to get Davis. I am a Lambo fan, but even EYE was in agreement that he needed more AAA swings. Then, he got hot….then, he got hurt.


Yes. I wanted Lambo to break camp with the ML team or to regain his confidence in AAA and then take his place on the ML roster. That path would have produced the greatest value for the Pirates.

David Lewis

If they’d used Lambo at first, they would still have needed a LH first baseman by the beginning of May when Lambo got injured. So they either trade for Davis in May instead of April, or you would have had Sanchez playing full time against RHP.


I assume it’s appropriate to disregard Lambo’s injury because he may not have injured himself if he were in Pittsburgh. We do not know what caused his injury. Was it an incident? Or, was it a chronic condition which ended with Lambo needing surgery? I haven’t seen any information which settles this question.

Patrick Kelly

Had Lambo been in the ML, there is a chance that the injury that happened wouldn’t have happened.

Nate James

I had a strong feeling it was going to be him. As much as I was hoping it was a RHP, it isn’t that big of a deal right now. The trade is ok to me!

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