WBC Notes: Taillon Looks Good Against Team USA

Jameson Taillon got the start for Team Canada against Team USA in a crucial game. He was on a 65 pitch limit due to WBC restrictions on each pitcher. The winner of this game advances to the second round, the loser goes home. Taillon started the first inning with a ground out from Jimmy Rollins. He was throwing 95 MPH early, throwing mostly fastballs as the shadows in front of home plate gave the pitchers a huge advantage. Taillon got a quick fly out from Brandon Phillips for the second out before allowing a first-pitch single to Ryan Braun, who then stole second with Joe Mauer up. Taillon got a hard grounder to 2B from Mauer to end the inning, using 13 pitches to get through one.  Jameson Taillon 3

In the second inning, Taillon gave up a lead-off double to David Wright. He had a little bad luck on the next batter, getting a high infield pop up that was dropped by third baseman Taylor Green. The runners moved to second and third on a sacrifice bunt from Adam Jones. Eric Hosmer grounded out to third base for the second out, which was David Wright at home plate. Taillon got out of the inning with no runs allowed after another ground out from Shane Victorino. He needed just 11 pitches in the second, the last one hit 96 MPH on the radar gun.

Looking good on his pitch count after two, Taillon came out for the third with a 2-0 lead. Facing Jimmy Rollins again, on three pitches, he recorded his first strikeout. Taillon then retired Brandon Phillips on a one-pitch ground out. He got through the inning facing the minimum, striking out Ryan Braun looking on a nasty 3-2 curveball. He used 11 pitches again and looked real good battling back from a 3-0 count to Braun.

In the fourth inning, Taillon allowed a hard single to right field by Joe Mauer to lead off the inning. David Wright then drew a walk on six pitches. The US got on the board on the next play as Ben Zobist laid down a sac bunt that was thrown away by Taylor Green. It put runners on the corners with no outs and Adam Jones up, who then tied the game with a sacrifice fly. Eric Hosmer lined out to left field for the second out. Taillon struck out Shane Victorino to end the inning, using 17 pitches total, 52 for the game. Zobrist, Jones and Hosmer each saw one pitch in their AB.

Taillon’s final line was four innings, one earned run, four hits, one walk and he struck out three batters. He threw 34 of those 52 pitches for strikes and had an effective curveball working all game. He was sitting 93-95 MPH early, hitting 96 and in the fourth inning, he was sitting 92-94 MPH.

Results from this game, along with notes on Wandy Rodriguez’s start for the Dominican Republic, will be posted tonight.

John Dreker

Author: John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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  • https://profiles.google.com/113824087346904673399 Dom DiDominic

    Good would be an understatement…… 1 ER through 4. 52 pitches. Pretty dominate v that lineup.

    • John Dreker

      If I put great, you could knock the fact he was up a lot with his fastball, which as I mentioned below was a tick off his normal velocity. He had a huge advantage with the shadows too, so I didn’t want to go too crazy with 5 runners allowed in 4 innings and a couple hard hit outs. I’ve seen him look better on the mound, obviously against much worse competition. If you see him mid-season, he will look better(meaning velocity/location/stamina)

      • http://www.facebook.com/ian.rothermund Ian Rothermund

        Yeah, I’d definitely say it’s worth mentioning that it’s only his second or third appearance so far in the spring. I thought he looked very good, and didn’t seem to be at all intimidated by the competition.

      • http://www.facebook.com/david.donahue.100 whiteAngus

        and dont forget about radar gun discrepencies. not all of them will be correct, just like the time Justin Wilson hit 99 and Moskos was hitting 97… which means the gun in Altoona needs an overhaul.

  • https://profiles.google.com/105668650510920614054 Brian Bernard

    I’ve been waiting anxiously for a week knowing this game was coming. Taillon didn’t disappoint and he didn’t overwhelm me either.
    I was surprised by the confidence and pitching skills, and a little frustrated at the pitch speed. Going at Braun after getting hit on the first time up, Taillon throws a 3-1 curve? Nice. The locking him up and getting his revenge. It was really something to know that kind of competitor is coming to ballpark near you, and soon.
    However, I’d find it surprising if many people are a little slack jawed after seeing Taillon only reach 96, and that only once. The curve was good not great, but you can see it’s only a matter of time before it will be. I saw one really nice change, but didn’t see it again after that. One doesn’t have to have a great imagination that if he further improves this summer he’ll be a lock for the team as soon as next year.
    I understand Cole had another pretty good outing. One real mistake. I wonder between the two who really will be the better pitcher? I went into the game looking for heat and instead saw a real pitching talent. If Cole is as talented a pitcher as he is a thrower then the tandem of Taillon and Cole may be better than I thought. Can they give Sid and Malkin a run for the money by as soon as next year?
    Man I hope so.

    • piratemike

      I appriciate that you are being subjective but I think you maybe a little over the top.
      Don’t forget this is still early march. Do you really want Taillon throwing 98-100 now?
      A young man in AA going up against some of the elite talent in MLB and he more than held his own, give me a break.

      • https://profiles.google.com/105668650510920614054 Brian Bernard

        My point is and was that I expected the heat (My guess others did too.), but came away more impressed with his pitching skill and composure, I think a fair point.
        Second point hoping Cole has similar skill and not just the big arm. Another fair question?
        What is needing a break?

        • http://www.facebook.com/ian.rothermund Ian Rothermund

          Yeah, I think the upper 90’s are something he’s capable of hitting if he’s in as a reliever or something; in short outings. As a starter, he’s realistically into the range he was today. I’d say there’s a good chance that mid-season, he’ll be averaging a tick or two more, but nothing crazy. I think what everyone saw today was a guy with great stuff that, rather than trying to juice it up and get more velo, focused on hitting spots and actually pitching. As time goes on, maybe a good comparative MLB pitcher to Taillon would be Matt Cain. Wouldn’t that be nice.

  • John Dreker

    When I saw Taillon twice in West Virginia, he was 93-96, hitting 97, so this wasn’t far off. Then it was in the season, so not surprisingly,he held the velocity longer. This start isn’t far off what you should expect from him, he won’t be hitting 98-100 consistently, that is Cole range, Taillon is a tick below

    • piratemike

      John, my very limited views of Cole and Taillon appears to me that Taillon has a much more stable footing (for lack of a better word) than Cole. It appears to me that Cole has some confidence issues that Taillon doesn’t seem to have.I am not saying that Cole cannot succeed but It seems like Taillon is more sure of himself. That may be the difference between being a #1 and a #3.Although I really expect both to be #1’s.

      • John Dreker

        I think both will be top pitchers in the majors and at this point, the only difference between them for me is that Cole will get there sooner, so I rated him higher. I saw Cole start for Altoona last year and he was dominating a pretty good Trenton lineup. I don’t expect him to do anything amazing this year for the Pirates, but I’m looking forward to seeing what he will do in his first full season.

    • http://www.facebook.com/david.donahue.100 whiteAngus

      plus MLB hitters can hit the fastball, wether it be 90mph or 95. Taillon’s out pitch is his curve ball, and the older he gets, the stronger he gets, and the more confident he gets, his out pitch could be stellar.

  • emjayinTN

    I would call his effort today against Team USA Remarkable simply because this is a kid who just turned 21 in November. He had poise and polish from the very beginning and did not get rattled even though he was facing a lineup of perennial All Stars. He has a nice assortment of pitches, but I would like to see more use of a straight change. He made the USA put the ball in play, and a better defense would have been nice to have. We are talking about draft prospects lately – had he decided to enter college instead of signing, he would not have been draft eligible until this year. Instead, he will start at AA and probably advance to AAA by the end of the year.

  • leadoff

    That was a major league all star lineup that Taillon faced, he was terrific, look what happened to Canada when he left the game. You could make a case that every single game that is pitched that the pitcher could do a little something different than what he did. Taillon does not throw a 98 mile hour fast ball and Cole will not sit at 98 or 99 either, those are speeds pitchers reach from time to time. The announcers were raving about him, they think he will see Pittsburgh this year, but we all know he won’t, even if he has a less than one era, he still would not. What a jewel the Pirates have, he is so far advanced for his age. The Pirate staff is pitching to minor leaguers and non roster invitees in ST and they can’t get them out. I still think Cole is the best pitching talent in the system, but I think Taillon is more advanced than Cole even though Cole is being pushed through the system faster than Taillon. I believe there a lot of teams in baseball that Taillon would start in the majors for this year and I don’t mean as their 5th starter.

    • emjayinTN

      Agree. On when to bring them up, the Pirates play the hand they are dealt, and that means that you wait until the player cannot get credit for a year of MLB Service. Therefore, Gerrit Cole will start at AAA and then be promoted to the Pirates in late May or early June. Therefore, about 20 starts in 2013, but the MLB Clock for Free Agency will not begin until 2014. Same same for Taillon in late May/early June, 2014 and his MLB Clock for Free Agency will not begin until 2015. I think a player has to get 170 or 180 roster days to qualify for a full year of MLB Service

      • http://daleberrasstash.blogspot.com/ Kevin Creagh

        To gain an extra year of service, the Pirates would only have to wait one week into the season to accomplish that (TB with Longoria, DET with Porcello).

        That would assure them of going to Super 2 with Cole. To avoid Super Two is to wait until mid-June.