Jameson Taillon is just ten starts into his Major League career. However, he is already proving to be a budding ace for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
When the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Jameson Taillon with the second overall pick in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft, the expectations were set high. Obviously, any time a player is drafted that high the expectations will be high. But Taillon’s background added to the hype.
When he was drafted Jameson Taillon was being touted as the best prep pitcher to come out of Texas since former All-Star and World Series MVP Josh Beckett. This comparison was due to Taillon’s pitching style being similar to Beckett. Jameson Taillon, like Josh Beckett before him, was a tall right-handed pitcher that sits in the mid-to-upper 90s with his fastball and has a filthy curveball.
As Jameson Taillon was coming through the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Minor League system, he was being hyped as a future ace. His performance in the 2013 World Baseball Classic just added to the hype around Taillon. It was highlighted by his strong start against Team USA, in which he put his curveball on display. Most notably, it was on display in this at bat where he made Ryan Braun look silly.
When the Pittsburgh Pirates left Spring Training in 2014, Jameson Taillon appeared to be on the doorstep of the Major Leagues. As long as everything went according to plan, Taillon seemed prime to make his Major League debut that summer. However, this is when things stopped going according to plan.
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This is because in early April of 2014 it was announced that Jameson Taillon would have to have Tommy John Surgery. As a result, Taillon missed all of the 2014 season. Then, between rehabbing from TJ and a hernia issue, Taillon also missed all of the 2015 season. However, Taillon has been back in a big way in 2016.
Prior to being promoted to the Major Leagues in June, Jameson Taillon was absolutely dominating Triple-A. In 61 2/3 innings pitched Taillon had a 2.04 ERA, 1.89 FIP, a .182 opposing batting average against, and a sparkling 0.81 WHIP. Jameson Taillon was also averaging 8.90 K/9, 0.88 BB/9, and just 0.29 HR/9.
Jameson Taillon was then promoted to the Major League on June 8th. Since his promotion, Taillon has picked up where he left off at in the Minor Leagues. And considering how dominant he was at Triple-A, that is really saying something.
Against the San Diego Padres yesterday, Jameson Taillon was dominant. This was Taillon’s tenth Major League start, and the eighth in which he has gone at least six innings. This includes him currently being on a streak six straight starts in which he has gone at least six innings. Even though Taillon has only made ten career starts, he is already proving that he is a budding ace.
Honestly, looking at the amount of innings that Jameson Taillon has pitched does not do him justice either. This is because in more than one of these starts, yesterday’s included, odds are he would have pitched even deeper into the game if the Pirates were not watching his pitch volume this year. Which is very understandable on the Pirates’ end since he has missed the past two seasons.
After his eight dominant innings against the Padres yesterday afternoon Jameson Taillon now has a 2.85 ERA, 3.52 FIP, and a 3.16 xFIP in 60 innings pitched this season. Taillon is also averaging 7.05 K/9, just 1.20 BB/9, 1.05 HR/9, a 1.08 WHIP, and a 53.9 percent ground ball rate.
Since debuting in the Major Leagues, Jameson Taillon’s highly touted curveball has been absolutely filthy. Opposing batters are hitting just .114 off of Taillon’s curveball this season. Yes, .114. This is paired with a .157 wOBA and a wRC+ of 3, so it goes without saying his curveball has been really good.
Despite only having ten Major League starts under his belt, Jameson Taillon has proved he is a budding ace. Taillon has already proven to be a starting pitcher that can go deep into the game, he has a dominant pitch in his curveball, he does not walk many batters, and he allows even less home runs. With Jameson Taillon, Gerrit Cole, Chad Kuhl, and Tyler Glasnow, among others, the future of the Pirates’ starting rotation is extremely bright.