The number 18 prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system is pitcher Jacob Taylor, drafted in 2015 from Pearl River Community College in Mississippi.
Taylor, at 20 years old, has by far the least experience of anyone on the list but has the tools that could make him a great pitcher. He has good stature at 6-foot-3 and 205 lbs, has been able to reach 97 mph with his fastball and has a decent slider.
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He is not only big, but athletic; in college, Taylor played the outfield and picked up 21 hits with 18 steals in his freshman season. He only batted .219 in college but he earned his payday on the mound anyway.
In 28.2 innings pitched last season, Taylor went 3-1 with 2 saves and a 3.14 ERA. He also struck out 33 batters in those 28.2 innings and was signed to pitch for LSU before being drafted.
Unfortunately, after just 2 innings pitched as a professional, Taylor suffered an injury that would cause him to get Tommy John surgery. Taylor probably wont pitch in 2016 and will make a full rehabilitation for 2017.
It will take Taylor some time to come back from the surgery but he’ll still be 21 years old at the start of the 2017 season. If he can fully rehab and get past the injury, he may be able to pitch even better than he had before. His breaking pitches needed work as it was, but it will be especially key for Taylor to maintain the velocity on his fastball.
Taylor has a lot of potential but only time will tell if he’s able to rebound from this set back and return to the level that got him drafted. Here’s what MLB.com said about him on draft day: