On Sunday, top pitching prospect Jameson Taillon made a start for Team Canada against Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. The right-hander went four innings, giving up two runs, one earned, on four hits, with a walk and three strikeouts. One of those strikeouts came against Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun. A recap of Taillon’s start can be found here.
I talked with Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington today to get his reaction to the outing.
“Obviously a great experience for the young man,” Huntington said. “He showed poise, he showed composure, he showed quality stuff. He showed up pretty well. He showed the hard velocity. Showed the power breaking balls. Mixed in a few changeups, but more than anything else he showed composure. Left the ball up some, but made some very, very good pitches. Especially that at-bat to [Ryan] Braun was a lot of fun to watch. And the 3-1 breaking balls. Foul off on a 3-2 fastball, and then to go get the 3-2 breaking ball for a taken strikeout on a hitter like that. Some good things to take away, some things to learn as well. But overall a great outing for Jameson.”
As for that Braun at-bat, that’s probably something the Pirates want to see more of in the future.
“Hopefully for years to come,” Huntington said with a laugh. “We’ll take that type of matchup, and that type of outcome everyday.”
Last year Taillon had an up and down year. He finished up strong in his final starts in Bradenton, then had three strong outings in Altoona. It would be good to see Taillon carry his strong finish over to the 2013 season, and this outing was encouraging from that standpoint. Huntington spoke about the troubles last year, based on what he saw throughout the year
“We want guys to have adversity before they get to the big leagues, and the first time a guy experiences adversity at the major league level, it’s a lot harder to power through, a lot harder to learn from, and a lot harder to bounce back from,” Huntington said. “For Jameson he had that six, seven start stretch last year. I actually saw one of them where he gave up a six spot, but five of those shouldn’t have been scored. Whether we didn’t make a play behind him, and then later on after we had given him five outs and then he made a mistake and it turned into a multi-run outing.”
The right-hander will most likely start the 2013 season with Altoona. He’s got the stuff to speed through to the majors, although that’s not as easy as it sounds.
“We’ve got some work left to do,” Huntington said. “We’ve got to refine the mechanics and make him more consistent. Refine the consistency and the command, and the consistency of the stuff. But he certainly shows you all of those things that make you optimistic for the future.”
Last week I wrote about Taillon, looking at his consistency, his stuff, and how the 2013 season could be the year he’s unleashed.