Rum Bunter’s 2019 Pittsburgh Pirates Staff Preview: Marty
By Marty Leap
Team Cy Young – Jameson Taillon
2018 was a breakout season for former first round draft pick Jameson Taillon. After battling hernia issues, coming back from Tommy John Surgery, and kicking cancer’s ass, Taillon finally put together a full, healthy MLB season in 2018.
In 32 starts last season Taillon posted a 3.20 ERA and a 3.46 FIP in 191 innings pitched. His 22.8% strikeout rate was a career best, his 5.9% walk rate dropped by 1.9% from 2017, and he allowed three earned runs or less in each of his final 22 starts. Taillon’s 3.8 fWAR ranked 10th in the league, and he was one of just four NL starters to pitch multiple complete games.
During the aforementioned final 22 starts Taillon turned a corner. He added a slider to his repertoire and became one of the best starting pitchers in the National League.
In these 22 starts he posted a 2.71 ERA and a 3.20 FIP in 139 2/3 innings pitched. He allowed just 13 home runs (0.84 HR/9), struck out 23.1% of batters faced, and his walk rate was a strong 5.3%. If Taillon can do this for 30+ starts in 2019, the Pirates will have a legitimate Cy Young contender anchoring their starting rotation.
The main reason for optimism around the 2019 Pittsburgh Pirates stems from their starting rotation. With a duo of Taillon and Chris Archer at the top it is easy to see why. Taillon is only going to continue to improve and is in store for a big 2019 season. Do not be surprised to see Taillon earn his first career All-Star bid, as well as Cy Young consideration in 2019.