The Pittsburgh Pirates rotation features many question marks, primarily in the form of the number three and four starters. The one certain is that former Pittsburgh Pirates first round pick Jameson Taillon. He will have high expectations in his first full season.
The soon to be 25-year-old right hander performed well in his inaugural season on the major league level. Jameson Taillon posted a 3.38 ERA and a 3.71 FIP. His control was remarkable, walking just 17 batters in 18 starts, a walk rate of 4.1 percent, half of the league make of 8.2 percent. Taillon not only walked very few batters, but he got them to put the ball on the ground at a rate of 52.4 percent, with the league average being 44.7 percent.
Taillon threw his two seam fastball at 94.41 miles per hour with an average perceived speed of 95.15 miles per hour. The one down side being that the spin rate of 2137 was below the average spin rate of 2155. Also that the exit velocity of 90.11 was not too far off from the 90.33 mph average. In fact, overall, Taillon was below average in getting soft contact, a rate of 17.3 percent, and his hard contact percentage of 33.2 percent was at a rate worse than average as well.
The biggest piece that really stood out for Taillon though was his curveball. Baseball savant has Taillon using his hook 26.19 percent of the time. Opposing hitters hit only .177 with a .260 slugging against the curveball. Most impressively though, 43 of Taillon’s 85 strikeouts came with the deuce.
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Jameson Taillon in 2017 looks to build off what he did in 2016. He needs to establish himself as the number two starter behind Gerrit Cole for, at the least, the next three seasons. On fangraphs, Steamer has there projections for players for the next season. Jameson Taillon’s projections show that he should be a solid starter for the Pittsburgh Pirates next season.
After pitching only 104 innings on the big league level, 165.2 innings including AAA, in 2016, Taillon is projected to throw 179 innings in 2017. His projected ERA of 3.51 is worse than what he did in 2016, but he’s also projected a 3.34 FIP. With the projection of some bad luck, the low FIP is much more encouraging. FIP tells us how a pitcher performed better than ERA tends to do. His strong control is projected to remain, a 4.9 percent walk rate and a 21.2 strikeout percent strikeout rate.
Overall Taillon’s projections show improvement, his projections for 2017 FIP is much better than the FIP he produced in 2016. His WAR is a projected 3.7, which would be the fourth best WAR a Pirate starter has produced in the PNC Park. The only players with a higher WAR were 2013 AJ Burnett (4.2), 2004 Oliver Perez (4.5), and 2015 Gerrit Cole (5.4).
If Jameson Taillon improves and pitches to his projections in 2017, the Pirates will have a quality one two punch with him and Cole. This will be a big part as the Pirates try to get back into the postseason.
Also Numbers from fangraphs
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