The Pirates Prospects 2016 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features prospect reports on everyone in the system, the 2016 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. Subscribers to the site get free and discounted books, with Top Prospect subscribers getting the 2016 book for free, and Annual subscribers getting $10 off. Both levels of subscribers can also get the book for just $5. Details on all three promotions can be found on the products page, and you can subscribe to the site or upgrade your current plan on the subscriptions page.
While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks. The reports will only be available to site subscribers, including those with a monthly plan. You can subscribe here, and if you like these reports, be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site to get much more analysis on every player in the system.
To recap the countdown so far:
20. Willy Garcia, RF
19. Clay Holmes, RHP
18. Mitch Keller, RHP
17. Max Moroff, 2B
16. Chad Kuhl, RHP
15. Cole Tucker, SS
14. Stephen Tarpley, LHP
13. Steven Brault, LHP
12. Yeudy Garcia, RHP
11. Kevin Newman, SS
10. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B
9. Nick Kingham, RHP
8. Elias Diaz, C
7. Reese McGuire, C
6. Harold Ramirez, OF
5. Alen Hanson, 2B
We continue the countdown with the number 4 prospect, Jameson Taillon.
4. Jameson Taillon, RHP
Taillon was slated to jump to the majors during the 2014 season, but missed the entire year with Tommy John surgery. He had another shot in 2015 after rehabbing from the injury. He pitched in extended Spring Training, and was just about to make his return to an actual box score in the GCL when he suffered a season-ending hernia injury.
The one bright side of the time missed is that it has allowed Taillon plenty of time to focus on his mechanics. He has worked for years on reducing the drop in his delivery and throwing on a downward plane with solid command.
After returning from Tommy John, he looked better than ever, with a low effort throwing motion and the best movement on his fastball since entering pro ball. There was a time when scouts would comment that Taillon would never be able to pitch at the knees. Now he makes it look easy.
The fastball still sits in the 94-97 MPH range, and has touched as high as 99 MPH in the past. He still has a plus curveball, with slurve movement that he buries in the zone with late breaking action. He was working on a changeup before his injury, along with a two-seam fastball to generate more grounders. Overall, the results in his rehab work looked like some of his best stuff in his pro career.
After the injuries, Taillon worked with a nutritionist, losing 20 pounds in an attempt to be leaner and more durable in the future. He should still have the frame capable of pitching 200 innings per year.
Taillon resumed throwing during instructs, and will start the 2016 season with Indianapolis. Despite two years without showing up in a box score, Taillon could arrive in Pittsburgh in 2016, with innings remaining to pitch in September and the playoffs. He’s still got the upside of a top of the rotation starter, and after dedicating so much of his rehab time to his mechanics, he has very little to work on in order to finally make that jump to Pittsburgh.