Pittsburgh Pirates: Ranking Neal Huntington’s First-Round Picks Part Two
By Marty Leap
Number 3 – Pitcher Jameson Taillon
There might be an argument to be made for putting Newman here. However, pitcher Jameson Taillon gets the nod due to having more than one season of above league average production under his belt.
Bryce Harper went 1st overall in the 2010 draft. With the 2nd pick in the draft that year, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Taillon. Unfortunately, it would not take long for the injury bug to start to bite Taillon.
Before making his MLB debut in 2016, Taillon had already undergone Tommy John Surgery and a hernia procedure. When he did finally reach the MLB level, it did not take Taillon long to make an impact. As a rookie in 2016, he posted a 1.7 fWAR, 3.38 ERA, 3.71 FIP, and logged 104 innings in 18 starts.
Taillon followed that up with 133.2 innings of 4.44 ERA, 3.48 FIP, and 3.2 fWAR baseball across 25 starts. Unfortunately, he would again miss time in 2017. This was due to being diagnosed with testicular cancer, further adding to the theory that Taillon might be the most unlucky man in the MLB.
2018 would be the one year Taillon spent an entire season at the MLB level and healthy. In 32 starts, he logged 191 innings. He posted a 3.20 ERA, 3.46 FIP, 3.9 fWAR, and was the only NL pitcher to have multiple complete games.
Taillon entered 2019 looking to solidify himself as one of the best starting pitchers in the NL. However, the injury bug bit again as he had to undergo Tommy John Surgery again after making just 7 starts.
Through the first 4 seasons of his MLB career, Taillon has posted a 3.67 ERA, 3.55 FIP and a 9.5 fWAR. These results have come in 466 innings of work across 82 starts. When healthy, Taillon appeared to be a rising star among NL starting pitchers. Hopefully, he can get back on the mound in 2021 and pick up where he left off prior to his most recent Tommy John Surgery.