Jameson Taillon is a big man. He stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 235 pounds; he has the body of a workhorse starting pitcher. His body, coupled with his outstanding arsenal of pitches, has scouts drooling over his potential. Taillon finished last season in Triple-A, so it is possible that Pittsburgh Pirates fans will see him pitching MLB games in mid-June.
Taillon was drafted second overall in the 2010 MLB draft; the Pirates signed him for $6.5 million. While the Pirates don’t necessarily spend a ton in free agency, they have shown a willingness to spend in the draft. Drafted as a prep pitcher, the Pirates were able to move Taillon through the system a bit slower than they did with Gerrit Cole. After pitching three seasons in the Pirates’ minor league system, Taillon is still just 22 years old.
In his first season (2011) with the West Virginia Power (Pirates’ A-ball team), Taillon pitched 92.2 innings. He pitched to a 3.98 ERA and put up a very good 9.4 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9. Showing that type of control as a young kid is very impressive.
In 2012, Taillon pitched with the high-A Bradenton Marauders and the Double-A Altoona Curve. Between the two levels, he pitched 142 innings to a 3.55 ERA. He saw a decrease in strikeouts (7.4 K/9) and an increase in walks allowed (2.4 BB/9).
In 2013, Taillon began the season with the Curve, compiling 110.1 innings over 20 games with them. He pitched to a 3.67 ERA and allowed 2.9 BB/9 and struck out 8.6 batters per nine innings. Late in the season, Taillon was promoted to the Triple-A affiliate of the Pirates, the Indianapolis Indians. He made just six starts with Indy, pitching 37 innings. He had a 3.89 ERA while allowing a career worst 3.9 BB/9. His walk issues were offset a bit by his impressive 9.0 K/9.
Taillon’s numbers haven’t been all that impressive in the minor leagues yet, however, he has the nasty stuff in his arsenal to change that rather quickly. A guy with a 95-99 mph fastball, a devastating curveball, and a developing changeup should have scouts excited. When Taillon fully develops his changeup and curveball command, he is going to be outstanding. It will be interesting to see when he finally gets the call to the majors.