Pittsburgh Pirates: Top Five Prospects RHP

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Pirates Taillon
Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /

#2 Jameson Taillon

Jameson Taillon has been looked forward to by fans since he was drafted number two overall in 2010.  The big right-handed pitcher from Texas has a lot to live up to.  One reason he is not already up is because he received Tommy-John Surgery in 2014.  When he came back last year many were hoping he would be ready for a September call up, unfortunately he then was diagnosed with a sports hernia, which shut him down for the rest of the year.

Taillon is six-foot-five and 240 pounds, the definition of a big, work horse right-handed pitcher.  Coming out of high school he had a three pitch mix of a fastball, curve-ball, and a change-up. All three were considered plus pitches when he was drafted.  Taillon’s best pitch is his curve ball, ask Ryan Braun.  Back in the 2013 World Baseball Classic many got to see Taillon throw live.  He pitched for Team Canada against Team USA.  He pitched very well, and his curve-ball seemed devastating.  It seems to be a 12-6 curve-ball.  Matching that wipe out pitch with his 95 miles per hour heater, Taillon has the makeup to reach the #2 overall potential.

Taillon has had a interesting path to the majors.  Early on his numbers were not overly impressive.  However, the front office made it public that Taillon was working on throwing his change-up and mechanics in his start.  In fact, during his time at single-a there would be start where he was not allowed to throw his curve-ball.  The Pirates knew is curve-ball was a great pitch, and wanted him to learn fastball and change-up command.  Doing so would make him a more complete pitcher.

In his career, Taillon owns a 3.54 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 419 innings.  His strikeout to walk ratio is very good, he has struck out 3.34 batters for every one walk.  His numbers improved every year as he made his way up through the system.   This year has been his best.  It was reported that during his two year off he was able to refine his mechanics and learn more about the art of pitching and more specifically how to refine his game.  So far it has shown this year.  In six starts he has an impressive 1.69 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP.  He has struck out 32 batters while only walking 4 and is holding batters to a .178 batting average.

Taillon is Major League ready.  His pitches have been big league ready since 2013, but had to work up through the system.  If not for injuries and this year dealing with super two he would be up already.  People are talking about inning limits, however the Pirates organization has not mentioned this.  In fact, the Pirates are trying to build his arm up.  He has proven he can go deep into games and pitch effectively.  He is by far the most polished pitcher in the system.  It is only a matter of time until he arrives.

Next: An Even Bigger Pitcher