The Pirates Prospects 2011 Prospect Guide was released last week, featuring 237 prospect reports, interviews with Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie, Zack Von Rosenberg, and Zack Dodson, the 2011 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, the top ten prospects will be released on the site.
Be sure to purchase your copy of the book by clicking “Buy Now” at the bottom of this page (or to the right).
To recap the countdown so far:
We conclude the countdown with the number one prospect, Jameson Taillon. There will be a chat on Tuesday about the 2011 Prospect Guide, the top 10 prospects, and any other topic. Go here to submit your questions early.
1. Jameson Taillon, RHP
In 2009, the Pirates avoided several highly ranked prep pitchers to take Tony Sanchez in the first round, and load up on over-slot deals in the later rounds. That’s why it was a surprise in 2010 when they not only selected Taillon with the second overall pick, but ended up giving him a $6.5 M signing bonus, which was the largest in franchise history.
Taillon is definitely worth the selection and the money. He comes from the same Texas region as talented pitchers such as Josh Beckett and 2006 Philadelphia Phillies first round pick Kyle Drabek. He has also been described as being better than Beckett was when he was in high school. For that reason, Taillon projects to be the future ace of the Pirates, and possibly the first the team has had since Doug Drabek in the early 90s.
The reason for the hype comes from the arsenal Taillon already has to work with. He can touch 99 MPH with his fastball, and consistently works in the 93-95 MPH range, even in the late innings. He also throws a curveball and a slider, which like his fastball, are both plus pitches. He has a good changeup, although he didn’t have much use for the pitch in high school.
Taillon could move straight to West Virginia in 2011 for full season ball, although it’s more likely that the Pirates keep him in extended Spring Training for a little while. He needs some work on his secondary pitches, as he didn’t need to use them often in high school. Other than that, Taillon is extremely polished for a prep pitcher, which combined with his pitches and size, means that he could move through the system like a college pitcher. The Pirates probably won’t rush him, but there is a chance that Taillon could be in the majors by June 2013, possibly even stepping in as their ace of the future.