Pittsburgh Pirates: Jameson Taillon Improves Control

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates best pitcher this season has been Jameson Taillon.  However, it did not start out that way for him this season.  What has led to his improvements?

Jameson Taillon’s short career for the Pittsburgh Pirates has been tumultuous, to say the least. After sustaining injuries during his debut season in 2016 and in 2017 as well as fighting cancer a year ago, Jamo looks to finish his first complete season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. As the season draws close to the end, we can start looking at his numbers in comparison with the last two years.

At this point in the season, Jameson Taillon has only appeared in 3 more games than last year yet has won 4 more games while losing only 2 extra. Along with his higher win percentage he has kept his ERA at a manageable 3.40. This ERA is 1.00 lower than last season and virtually the same as 2016, even while playing an extra 10 games this year.

Last year’s stats likely should be taken with a grain of salt due to his battle with testicular cancer. Honestly, the numbers he put up are considered quite impressive. This year, however, he has been healthy, and we were expecting that he may rocket past these stats. Yet this is not so, and the answer to why can be found in the breakdown of this 2018 season.

Jamo had a pretty rough start to 2018, posting a 4.83 ERA through April and promptly not winning any games in May. Taillon seems to have figured something out by June, landing a .600 win percentage with an ERA of 2.90. July and August were also strong months posting Win percentage of .600 and .750, respectively, with ERAs of 3.22 and 2.38, respectively.

Those stats themselves are descriptive, but let’s dissect them a little further.  Taillon threw 11 wild pitches through April, yet in contrast, has thrown none since. He also beamed 11 batters in that same time span with an additional 6 in May. He has only hit by pitch 11 batters total since June. Additionally, we have seen a considerable jump in the number of strikeouts from May to June and again in August. It’s safe to say that he gained some better control in the latter half of the season, likely due to an error correction in mechanics.

Taillon’s success might not be completely independent as some of his individual stats in the second half suggest. While his FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) has decreased throughout the season, the last couple months have shown it to be higher than his ERA.

Additionally, the run support has been strong behind his starts. When the Pittsburgh Pirates have scored more than 3 runs, Jamo has a perfect win percentage. These data suggest that Jamo has been supported with a high effort defense and offense when he toes the rubber. The fact that Jamo is keeping his ERA down, mechanics under control and giving his team a chance to win is likely inspiring the other 8 guys around him to capitalize on opportunities he produces.

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By the numbers, Taillon had a great second half of the season and will end 2018 strong. If Taillon can keep control of his arsenal earlier in the 2019 season, he will be a great asset to leading the Pittsburgh Pirates back into the post-season.