Prospect Watch: Kingham and Taillon Have Good Starts While Cole Gets Hammered


A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today.  Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. If a player is in the majors, he will be removed, everyone below him will be shifted up a spot, and a new player will be added to the bottom of the list. Rankings are from the pre-season rankings, and links to each prospect writeup can be found by clicking the player names below. Players who weren’t in the original top 20 are linked to their player page on the site.

1. Gerrit Cole, RHP, Indianapolis (3-2, 3.75) – 5.2 IP, 6 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 0 HR

2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Altoona (2-5, 3.02) – 6.0 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 10 K, 1 HR

3. Gregory Polanco, CF, Bradenton (.305) – 0-for-2, 2 BB, 2 SB

4. Alen Hanson, SS, Bradenton (.266) – 2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI

5. Luis Heredia, RHP, Extended Spring Training (Luis Heredia Close to Joining West Virginia)

6. Josh Bell, RF, West Virginia (.278) – 1-for-4, BB

7. Barrett Barnes, CF, West Virginia (.220) – Low-A DL

8. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, West Virginia (3-0, 2.12) – DNP

9. Kyle McPherson, RHP, Indianapolis (0-1, 19.29) – Triple-A DL

10. Nick Kingham, RHP, Bradenton (5-2, 3.42) – 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 0 HR

11. Clay Holmes, RHP, West Virginia (1-3, 5.50) – DNP

12. Dilson Herrera, 2B, West Virginia (.296) – 0-for-4, BB, 2 K

13. Tony Sanchez, C, Indianapolis (.296) – 0-for-3, BB

14. Wyatt Mathisen, C, West Virginia (.194) – 2-for-5, 2B

15. Adrian Sampson, RHP, Bradenton (1-1, 6.94) – DNP

16. Vic Black, RHP, Indianapolis (0-2, 2.66) – DNP

17. Andy Oliver, LHP, Indianapolis (3-1, 2.61) – DNP

18. Jin-De Jhang, C, Extended Spring Training

19. Stolmy Pimentel, RHP, Altoona (2-1, 2.89) – DNP

20. Jordy Mercer, SS, Indianapolis (.333) – In Majors



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Top Pitcher: Nick Kingham, RHP (5-2, 3.42) – 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Jose Osuna, 1B (.270) – 3-for-3, HR, BB, SB

Home Runs: Alex Presley (3), Jose Osuna (3), Elias Diaz (1), Stetson Allie (10)



Box Score

Result: Pawtucket 11, Indianapolis 3

Starting Pitcher: Gerrit Cole, RHP (3-2, 3.75) – 5.2 IP, 6 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Alex Presley, CF (.281) – 1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Duke Welker, RHP (2.25) – 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

Game Notes: Gerrit Cole had his worst start of the season. He went 3.2 innings without a run, then gave up two in the fourth, one in the fifth, and five runs in the sixth inning. Cole threw 103 pitches with 62 strikes. Duke Welker went his first 17 innings this year without giving up an earned run. He has given up five earned runs in three innings in his last two appearances. Alex Presley hit his third homer of the year.



Box Score

Result: Richmond 3, Altoona 0

Starting Pitcher: Jameson Taillon, RHP (2-5, 3.02) – 6.0 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 10 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Alex Dickerson, RF (.212) – 1-for-2, 2B

Other Notable Performers:

Andrew Lambo, 1B-LF (.293) – 1-for-3, 2B

Quinton Miller, RHP (0.00) – 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

Game Notes: Jameson Taillon struck out ten batters in a game for the second time this season. He also struck out ten in six innings on April 12th, giving up just two runs that day. Taillon didn’t give up any runs today until the sixth inning. He finished with 102 pitches and 54 strikes. Check out this week’s Pirates Prospects podcast, which features an interview with Taillon. Alex Dickerson was removed from the game after colliding with Richmond first baseman Ricky Oropesa. Dickerson left the field in an ambulance, but was waving at the crowd as he left. Dickerson and Lambo had Altoona’s only two hits.


Nick Kingham struck out nine batters in seven innings today.
Nick Kingham struck out nine batters in seven innings today.


Box Score

Result: Bradenton 8, St. Lucie 1

Starting Pitcher: Nick Kingham, RHP (5-2, 3.42) – 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Jose Osuna, 1B (.270) – 3-for-3, HR, BB, SB

Other Notable Performers:

Elias Diaz, C (.261) – 1-for-3, HR, 4 RBI, BB

Alen Hanson, SS (.266) – 2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI

Gregory Polanco, CF (.305) – 0-for-2, 2 BB, 2 SB

Game Notes: Nick Kingham now has a 58:9 K/BB ratio in 47.1 innings this year. He recorded his second highest strikeout total of the season today, only falling short of his 13 strikeouts in six innings on April 28th. Jose Osuna had a big day at the plate, including a solo homer in the third inning. Gregory Polanco stole two bases, including home plate on the back end of a double steal, with Osuna taking second. Elias Diaz put the game out of reach with a grand slam in the eighth inning for his first homer of the year.



Box Score

Result: Lexington 12, West Virginia 5

Starting Pitcher: Jake Burnette, RHP (0-1, 16.62) – 0.2 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Stetson Allie, 1B (.314) – 3-for-5, 2B, HR

Other Notable Performers:

Jason Creasy, RHP (4.34) – 3.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

Max Moroff, SS (.200) – 2-for-4, 2B, BB, 2 RBI

Wyatt Mathisen, C (.194) – 2-for-5, 2B

Game Notes: Jake Burnette was removed in the first inning after hitting his single inning pitch limit. Last time out he gave up two runs on five hits in 3.2 innings. This time he gave up three hits, two walks, and hit a batter. All six runners scored, with three of them scoring off Tom Harlan. Stetson Allie hit his tenth homer of the year, and his second in as many days.

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Kevin Anstrom

Cole is still an outstanding prospect. He has everything you’d like to see in a young pitcher. One bad outing doesn’t make any difference.

You could make an argument that Shelby Miller and Matt Harvey are the two best starters in the NL. At this time last year they were in AAA.

How’d they perform?


We all have somewhat been a victim of over-hype about Cole and Taillon. Speaking for myself whether right or wrong I put these two pitchers up there in the Strasburg-like category or close to him……. (and it looks like he may have been Strasburged himself)……..That was due to the experts hype not mine.
I don’t blame the experts they see things and follow a consensus but we need to be less trusting about draftees and other young players until they arrive and do it at PNC.
Whomever the Pirates draft in the first round this year I promise you I’ll take a wait and see attitude and that goes for every player in the Pirates minor league system.


I’m not sure why everyone is being all sad panda about Taillon. The kid’s been pretty much excellent this year. I know nobody is saying he sucks, but all of the numbers under the hood look really nice to me.

Lee Young

Tim…you wrote “Taillon didn’t give up any runs today until the sixth inning.” and called it a good outing. Last I checked, they count runs scored in ANY inning.

Not a good outing. 4.50 ERA for the game. Sure it’s a ‘quality’ start, but not by any standard a good pitcher wants.

Only Kingham had a good outing today. The other two had ‘moments’, but by and large, only one of the 3 pitched well.

Lee Young

good point. I guess I have the bar set too high for JT.

At the time Cole and JT were drafted, I wanted Rendon and Machado.

However, that’s water over the dam. Of the two, I hold out more hope for JT. I see, at best, a Jason Schmidt-like career for Cole….accent on ‘at best’.


Right now it appears that Tyler Glasnow and The Castro kid have been the best starters in the Pirates minor league system so far this year – with Kingham coming on of late as well. Taillon has been okay to good, Cole has been mediocre for the most part.

If nothing else, it confirms that the Pirates were likely right when Cole did not make the MLB roster out of Spring Training.

I think Cole and Taillon will both be goo to very good MLB starters – however, I am not convinced either will be a Verlander, Wainright, or Cain caliber starter.

IC Bob

I got to say there is nothing about Cole that excites me right now. He has all the makings of a star but for whatever reason it seems like he can’t harness the stuff. I think he will become a great pitcher but it may be WAY down the line as he learns to pitch.

Lee Young

His command sucks….always has and always will. I hope I am wrong, but I haven’t seen, nor do I think I will see, a dominant, # 1 like starter.

I didn’t like him out of college, but I had hopes the Pirates could harness that stuff. Not sure why all these media folks thinks he should be at the MLB level. He’d get shelled!




Well, if his command “always sucks and always will” there’s not much to be done about it, is there?

Lee Young

still…I don’t see any signs of it improving. I hope I am wrong.

Lee Young

yeh…that was a little over the top…


No worries, man. His season has been pretty frustrating. I think even though he wasn’t lights out dominant last year, everyone was optimistic because he still put up pretty good numbers, despite command/control issues.
But I think he was sent back this year for a reason, and its best (and for our own sanity) to see more data before we make more definitive conclusions about his abilities.

joe g.

There were high expectations for him this year, and I’m sure he is expecting a lot of himself. Sometimes it’s the mental stuff that gets in the way. Once he settles down, and focuses on the task at hand and having fun, his talent will take over.

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