Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Top Prospects: #2 – Jameson Taillon

The Pirates Prospects 2014 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features prospect reports on everyone in the system, the 2014 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, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks.  Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.

To recap the countdown so far:

20. Michael De La Cruz, OF
19. JaCoby Jones, OF
18. Barrett Barnes, OF
17. Cody Dickson, LHP
16. Blake Taylor, LHP
15. Joely Rodriguez, LHP
14. Andrew Lambo, OF
13. Stolmy Pimentel, RHP
12. Clay Holmes, RHP
11. Tony Sanchez, C
10. Harold Ramirez, OF
9. Luis Heredia, RHP
8. Josh Bell, OF
7. Reese McGuire, C
6. Nick Kingham, RHP
5. Alen Hanson, SS
4. Austin Meadows, OF
3. Tyler Glasnow, RHP

We continue the countdown with the number 2 prospect, Jameson Taillon.

Jameson Taillon is expected to be in the majors by mid-season.

Jameson Taillon is expected to be in the majors by mid-season.

2. Jameson Taillon, RHP

The 2013 season saw Gerrit Cole make the jump to the majors to help the Pirates rotation, with Cole looking like an ace by the end of the season. Jameson Taillon could do the same thing in 2014. That wouldn’t be the end of the similarities between Cole and Taillon. Both have been projected as potential top of the rotation pitchers since they were drafted. Neither player put up dominant numbers in the minors to back up those projections. Just like Cole, Taillon is rated highly due to his strong arsenal.

Taillon’s fastball sits 94-97 MPH, and has touched triple digits at times, but mostly tops out at 99 MPH. He has worked throughout his pro career to reduce a drop in his delivery, which leads to him flattening out the pitch, making the fastball more hittable. He will always have a drop in his delivery, but he has reduced that and has done a better job of limiting damage.

To go along with the plus fastball, Taillon has a plus curveball, which is the best in the system. The curve is a mid-80s hard breaking pitch which generates swings and misses. It can be confused with a slider, and is more of a slurve, breaking sideways and down. The curve has been inconsistent at times throughout his pro career, which might be due to the focus on fastball command. When the curve is working, Taillon is dominant.

Like most prep pitchers, Taillon has worked on developing a changeup as a pro. The changeup took some big strides in development in 2012, and he continued that development in 2013, sitting 87-89 MPH with the pitch. Taillon added a two-seam fastball at the end of the 2012 season, and used it more often in 2013 to generate grounders. The pitch sits low 90s, moving in on right-handers with a bit of sink.

Taillon has the upside to be a number one starter in the majors. He will start the 2014 season with Indianapolis, and could be in the majors by June. If things go as well for him as they did with Gerrit Cole, then the Pirates could have two young aces in their rotation by the end of the 2014 season.

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Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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