The Pittsburgh Pirates are already seeing the benefits of drafting pitchers with ace potential. Gerrit Cole, the first overall pick in the 2011 Amateur Draft, made his debut on June 11. When Cole was drafted, he was said to have “ace” potential because of a big frame, a power fastball that could touch 100 mph and a wipe-out slider. In 61 innings in his debut season with the Pirates, Cole has a 3.69 ERA.
Jameson Taillon, drafted second overall in the 2010 Amateur Draft out of high school, is another pitcher with a huge frame who can throw 100 mph. For him, his wipe-out pitch is his curveball. He has spent a little over two seasons in the minor leagues so far. He began this season in Double-A with the Altoona Curve, where he spent the end of the 2012 season as well. In 127.1 innings in Double-A, Taillon had a 3.39 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9.
I say Taillon “had” a 3.39 ERA in 127.1 innings with the Curve because he has now been promoted to the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. The fact that Cole is already with the Pirates despite being drafted a year later than Taillon isn’t a surprise, Taillon was drafted as a high school pitcher, and Cole was drafted out of college. College pitchers tend to reach the big leagues quicker because they are more polished.
Taillon will likely make his Triple-A debut on Monday. If Taillon takes the same road as Cole while in Triple-A, he will probably make his MLB debut in June.