Jameson Taillon made his first start in minor league camp since being sent down. The last time the right-hander threw was in the World Baseball Classic. John Dreker described the game, noting that Taillon had good overall numbers, but was hit pretty hard. That was the case today.
Taillon threw three innings this afternoon, and had his usual stuff. The fastball was 92-97 MPH, with the two-seam fastball coming on the low end of that scale. He only threw one changeup, and threw a handful of curveballs. He was leaving the four-seam fastball up in the zone, and the ball was being hit hard, but the right-hander managed to avoid any issues. Taillon had good movement on the two-seam fastball, and seemed to be throwing the pitch a lot after the first inning.
In his first inning he only needed seven pitches, although one of those was a hard hit ball right to the left fielder. He needed 13 pitches in the second inning, including a strikeout looking on a very nice curveball against the leadoff batter. He was more up in the zone in the second, and had one pitch that was hit hard and one hopped the wall, but went foul.
Taillon ran into control problems in the third inning. With a runner on first, the right-hander issued two straight walks. He gave up a single through the hole past a diving Gift Ngoepe at short, which brought in two runs. The inning was rolled with Taillon at 22 pitches, ending his day.
Pimentel Will Be a Starter
Today was the first time I had a chance to see Stolmy Pimentel pitch a real game. I use that disclaimer because I’ve seen Pimentel throw this Spring, but it came against Spain, and that was hardly a challenge. The right-hander went three innings this afternoon in the Double-A game, giving up a run on two hits, with no walks and four strikeouts.
The thing that stood out to me was Pimentel’s slider. The right-hander started throwing the pitch in late 2011. The pitch was a little rough in 2012, which was his first full season throwing it. After the outing today, Pimentel said the pitch was feeling better this year. It definitely looked better. He was throwing the pitch in the 80-85 MPH range, and got a few strikeouts on the pitch. It’s got some nice break, almost to the point where it looks like a hard curveball. He was mostly 82-84 with the slider, but threw one at 85 MPH to get a strikeout.
His fastball started off around 89-91 MPH, but quickly moved up to 91-93 in his first inning of work. In his second inning he was topping out at 94 MPH, hitting that number a few times. The pitch has some nice late arm-side run. A few right-handed batters were turning on the pitch, hitting some hard shots down the third base line. The two hits allowed both were hard grounders to third, with one of them going right over the bag. There were also two foul balls which were hit pretty hard down the third base line. I’m not sure if this is because batters are getting a good early look at the pitch, or if it was just coincidental.
I spoke with Larry Broadway after the outing to get a feel for where Pimentel will start off this year. Broadway mentioned that Pimentel will be a starting pitcher. The right-hander was optioned to Triple-A, but Broadway said that’s not necessarily where he’ll start the season.
**There weren’t a lot of prospects to watch today. A.J. Burnett threw five innings in the Triple-A game. Garrett Jones and Travis Snider were rotating between the two games taking at-bats. They both had six at-bats. I was also talking to Jones and Burnett after they came off the field, then Pimentel and Broadway, so I didn’t watch much of the later innings.
**Tony Sanchez had an opposite field home run, which was helped by the wind blowing out to right. The catcher also showed off his defense, blocking a few balls in the dirt on a day when A.J. Burnett didn’t have a good curveball.
**Matt Hague had a nice double, going downstairs to get a curveball, and pulling it into left field.