The Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Friday afternoon that right-handed pitcher Jacob Taylor has retired.
He was the fourth round pick in the 2015 draft and was seen as a pick with a lot of potential at the time. Just two innings into his first season, Taylor needed Tommy John surgery. He returned late in the 2016 season for 11 innings. The results were poor, but it was mostly about getting him back on the mound.
In 2017, Taylor was starting for Bristol and not only were the results poor, he wasn’t showing the same mid-90s velocity that made his such an intriguing prospect. He was dipping into the high-80s at times. He also missed time due to an ankle injury prior to the start of the Bristol season.
Taylor was in the bullpen for West Virginia this year until being placed on the disabled list two weeks ago. He was signed to an over-slot deal, receiving a $500,000 bonus because he could hit 97 MPH and had plenty of draft eligibility left coming out of a junior college. His velocity returned briefly after the Tommy John surgery, but hasn’t been there since the start of the 2017 season.
Also from Pirate City, there is news that Kevin Mahala is no longer with the organization. He asked for his release recently because he was stuck down in Extended Spring Training, after spending the 2017 season with West Virginia. The 23-year-old was an 18th round draft pick in 2016. It’s unclear if he retired or was granted his release. Retired players (including Taylor and about five other players since March) have their rights retained by the Pirates if they decide to return to baseball.
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.
He was someone I thought had a chance when he was drafted, good luck to him.