Pittsburgh Pirates 2015 Top Prospects: #2 – Jameson Taillon

The Pirates Prospects 2015 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features prospect reports on everyone in the system, the 2015 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, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks. Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.

To recap the countdown so far:

20. Luis Heredia, RHP
19. JaCoby Jones, SS
18. Willy Garcia, OF
17. Clay Holmes, RHP
16. Gage Hinsz, RHP
15. Trey Supak, RHP
14. Cody Dickson, LHP
13. John Holdzkom, RHP
12. Adrian Sampson, RHP
11. Harold Ramirez, OF
10. Elias Diaz, C
9. Cole Tucker, SS
8. Mitch Keller, RHP
7. Alen Hanson, 2B
6. Nick Kingham, RHP
5. Reese McGuire, C
4. Josh Bell, 1B
3. Austin Meadows, OF

We continue the countdown with the number 2 prospect, Jameson Taillon.

2. Jameson Taillon, RHP

Jameson Taillon was expected to make the jump to the majors in 2014, similar to what Gerrit Cole did in 2013. However, he had Tommy John surgery at the start of April. He spent the 2014 season rehabbing from the surgery, and started throwing again at the end of July.

Prior to the injury, Taillon had outstanding stuff, with a 94-97 MPH fastball that can hit triple digits and usually tops out at 99 MPH. He pairs that with a plus curveball, which is more of a slurve, thrown in the low-to-mid 80s with hard tilt. Taillon has also been working on developing his changeup the last few years, and made some progress with the pitch in Altoona during the 2013 season.

There were things that Taillon needed to work on in 2014 before he could jump to the majors. The big thing he has been working on throughout his pro career has been reducing the drop in his delivery. Taillon throws with a drop and drive delivery, which leads to him flattening out his fastball up in the zone, making him more hittable than a guy with his stuff should be. He has made progress reducing that drop, but it’s always going to be a part of his delivery, and always something he needs to focus on.

Taillon also needed to continue working on his changeup, while working to incorporate a two-seam fastball into the mix, which he started throwing when he reached Double-A. He should also continue focusing on learning how to mix his pitches up and focus on being a pitcher, rather than a thrower.

Most pitchers return from Tommy John with the same stuff that they had prior to the injury. That is the hope with Taillon. He will go to Triple-A at the start of the year, and could be an option for the Pirates at mid-season. He might be limited as far as innings, which could lead to an early shut-down in September. (UPDATE: It looks like the Pirates will start him later in the year, so that he will have innings remaining in September). Long-term, he looks like a solid number two starter who could pair nicely with Cole and Glasnow.

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  • I just watched MLB network show how awesome Clayton Kershaw is because of how strong his Drop and Drive delivery makes him…….. could it be that someone in this org is making more out of this than they should….. I mean Kershaw is y’know, pretty good and all.

  • I was hoping that with slowing everything down for a year they keep focus on maybe eliminating the drop and drive part of his delivery…work on the mechanics and really focus on getting the pitch down. Guess when you have pitched a certain way though your whole life easier said then done…

  • there is something wrong with the comment section. this is the only one that works.

  • The Pirates are so deep in pitching that IMO they don’t need to rush Taillon or Holmes.

  • I am truly hoping he is one of the 90% who come back with no problem and not one of the 10%. We probably won’t know for sure until midseason?

    • Thank ya sir.. I was wondering when we’d actually know if he’s part of the 90%.. also, if we knew he was returning to form would he be our #1 prospect or has glasnow truly leaped him

      • Lee Foo Young
        February 5, 2015 1:08 pm

        rlsjp….I couldn’t care less who is ranked #1 or #2. As long as they both fulfill their promise, I will be a happy Bucco fan.

        • Well duh.. I doubt many are thinking they could care less if they fulfill theie promise…

          • If Taillon did pitch, pitched great last year in AAA he would have made it to the majors and not even been a prospect right now because he’d have over 50 ip in the majors. So the comparison comes from the fact Glasnow jumped a level and Taillon was hurt. That Glasnow is ranked higher is pointless for 2015 because if Taillon is healthy and looks great he is still ahead of Glasnow and could contribute this year. It would be a special situation for Glasnow to pitch in the majors. It would mean he reached a new level of command and that he blew through two levels. Nearly impossible considering the Pirates depth.

            • tim provided what I was looking for in the write-up of glasnow.. glasnow has the higher upside.. I was looking for information, not provoking a debate about who should be #1.. like the passion though

              • I wasn’t even really debating anything. If anything they are 1A and 1B as far as upside with Glasnow being more dominant but Taillon being more polished. Glasnow’s dominance strikeout and battig average-wise is fun to dream on though. But as far as stuff and upside…they are both still way up there on the scale.

    • Agree – If he comes back as good or better than projected…with Cole, Glasnow and company – the Pirates will be contenders well into the future. Personally – would like to see at least one more World Series Championship before 2040.

      • Lee Foo Young
        February 5, 2015 1:09 pm

        I will be 88 at that time, so, yeh, I agree with you SledgeHammer. I may not be allowed to get that excited at that point in my life IF I am even still alive. 🙂

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