It’s Jameson Taillon Day
Jameson Taillon makes his professional debut today, weather permitting, with the West Virginia Power, going up against Bryce Harper and the Hagerstown Suns. I will be at the game tonight, reporting on Taillon’s debut for the site. As some of you know, I was pulling for the Pirates to draft Taillon well before the 2010 draft took place. I’ve interviewed him twice, and you heard it here first, last week, that Taillon would be going to West Virginia to make his debut this week.
To get you prepared for his debut, here is a recap of the coverage, dating back to the start of the 2010 draft talk:
-In my initial draft preview in 2010, I wrote the following about Taillon:
The wild card in all of this is James Taillon, the top high school pitcher in the draft. We assume that the Pirates won’t take a high school arm in the first round since they passed on Matzek, Turner, and company in 2009. The question we have to ask is: do the Pirates not like taking high school arms in the first round, or did they just not like those particular high school arms in the 2009 first round? One draft is a small sample size to make an opinion out of, so while I don’t think it’s likely that the Pirates consider Taillon, I’m certainly not ruling him out. There is the chance that the Pirates feel he is worthy of a first round pick, despite being a prep pitcher, and take him, which could totally surprise everyone come June 7th.
Following the 2009 draft, when the Pirates passed on several top prep pitchers to take Tony Sanchez, there was the belief that the Pirates didn’t like taking pitchers at all, since they took college hitters in the first two Neal Huntington drafts. No one was thinking Taillon could be a favorite for the Pirates at the time.
-By the time the draft rolled around, it was a debate between Taillon and prep shortstop Manny Machado. You can read my pre-draft breakdown of the two here.
-The Pirates did take Taillon, with my recap of the pick here. Note: I have a story and a player page for Manny Machado, both of which I wrote the night before the draft, saved on the site. One day we’ll compare this pick again…
-August 16th rolled around, and the Pirates signed Taillon to a club record $6.5 M bonus. Combined with the signing of Stetson Allie, and the signing of Luis Heredia a few days later, the Pirates quickly accumulated three potential top of the rotation prospects, with Taillon leading the way. The signing of Taillon and Allie alone made the 2010 draft one that could change a franchise.
-Tonight won’t be the first time I’ve seen Taillon. I saw him in Spring Training, and you can check out the video of that outing here.
-I also spoke with Jameson again in Spring Training, at which point we learned that he would stay in extended Spring Training and start off in West Virginia later in the season.
-Finally, last week I reported that Taillon was heading to West Virginia, to make his debut this week.
-Want to know what to expect for Taillon’s workload in West Virginia? Check out my interview with West Virginia pitching coach Jeff Johnson.
-Or maybe you want to know about what Taillon has been working on in Spring Training (NOTE: I’m told there’s a rumor going around that the Pirates changed Taillon’s arm slot, and that is not true). If so, you can check out part two of my interview with Pirates’ Minor League pitching coordinator Jim Benedict, which discusses Taillon, along with other players.
We’ve been covering Taillon for over a year, and tonight he makes his pro debut. I’ll be in West Virginia to cover the event, and as usual, will have coverage like no one else on the start to his professional career. You can follow me on Twitter (@pirateprospects), and check back on the site tonight for a recap of his performance, including how he did against Bryce Harper.