The next prospect up for review is Jameson Taillon of the Pittsburgh Pirates
How Acquired: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1st round (#2 overall) in the 2010 amateur draft
Age as of 4/1/11: 19
Hardball Times: #1 (PIT – 2011)
Deep Leagues: #17 (Overall - 2011), #9 (SP – 2011)
Project Prospect: #10 (Overall – 2011)
Bullpen Banter: #9 (SP – 2011)
MLB.COM: #18 (Overall – 2011)
Baseball America: #1 (PIT – 2011)
John Sickels: #1 (PIT – 2011) B+
Scouting Book: #11 (RHP – 2011), #43 (Overall – 2011)
Top Prospect Alert: #1 (PIT – 2011)
You know, after trying to write up a couple of high school players last year, I told myself then that I wasn’t going to write any up this year because it’s too hard to find information. But when you’re dealing with the 2nd pick in the draft last year, information isn’t nearly as hard to come by.
Taillon was drafted out of high school in Texas, and already has an excellent build for any draft prospect, let alone a high school one. At 6’7″ and 230 pounds (according to his pre-draft information), he definitely fits the definition of “projectable”.
When there’s no numbers to really work with, the scouting reports on a pitcher really seem like the most critical piece of information I can find. Here’s what Alex Eisenberg of Baseball Intellect (via Hardball Times) had to say prior to the draft:
Mechanically, Taillon starts out very slow as he lifts his front leg and then explodes from there. He has around an average tempo—the number of frames from which the knee reaches its uppermost point to release—of 24 or 25 frames, but he looks quicker than that. More importantly, there are no hitches in his arm action: It’s very smooth looking. Any unnecessary pause in one’s arm action or delivery can cause a pitcher to bleed energy, which costs him velocity. Taillon also loads his shoulder extremely well, which is surely a factor in his tremendous velocity. The more velocity, the higher the risk of injury, however.
The thing that really seems to make Taillon stand out is that he’s extremely advanced in terms of pitches, velocity, and movement. Here’s what MLB.COM had to say about him prior to the draft:
Taillon is the complete package in a high school pitcher, with tremendous size, stuff and a feel for pitching. He’s got three plus pitches in his fastball, slider and curve. Even his changeup, while not used that much, is solid. He uses his size to his advantage and has tremendous mound presence. As impressive as his stuff is, his makeup might be even better.
I imagine that Taillon will likely start the season at either Rookie ball or the Pirates Low-A affiliate. He has yet to throw a pitch professionally, but I have to imagine that the Pirates are going to try to push him at least somewhat faster than many prospects.
Taillon remains an extremely talented prospect, but also a very raw one since he is just out of high school. The Pirates will do well to push him the right amount, as he could very well be ready to move up very quickly. If he develops, we could potentially see Taillon pitching in Pittsburgh within 3 years. But it also would not surprise me for it to potentially take up to 5 years either.
Prediction for 2011
6 wins, 100 innings pitched, 3.50 ERA, 100 strikeouts, 35 walks (Between Low-A and possibly High-A)
2014 would bring him up at age 22, so somewhere between then and 2015 seems to be a reasonably time frame for his development.