Today at Pirate City, Jameson Taillon threw his first bullpen session since undergoing Tommy John surgery last April. The right-hander threw 15 pitches, all fastballs, in the start of what will be about three or four weeks of him building up in bullpens for the season. Taillon said he felt good after the session.
“I didn’t want to make too much of a big deal out of it, because it was my first one,” Taillon said. “I didn’t want to get too amped up or anything. No pain. Everything felt really free and easy, so that’s definitely a plus.”
It was cold in Bradenton today, with the morning temperatures below 60, and the temperature in the mid-60s for Taillon’s bullpen. That’s not quite as cold as the snowy weather in Pittsburgh today, but cold by baseball standards. He countered the cold weather with early preparation and long sleeves.
“I got in here early and started activating extra early for it,” Taillon said. “Wore long sleeves, which helps. I don’t love cold weather, but I’ve got to get used to it eventually. Once you get sweating I don’t think you really notice it.”
Taillon will continue throwing all fastballs for about four or five more bullpens, while throwing two bullpens per week. He has been throwing his changeups in flat grounds and has been mixing in the curve ball from 60 feet away in his throwing program. He will work to incorporate those pitches into his later bullpens, eventually building up to 35-40 pitches per session.
Last week I wrote that Taillon might start his season later in the year, in order to save innings for September and October, rather than getting shut down early like the Washington Nationals did with Stephen Strasburg a few years ago. Taillon said he wasn’t sure of his schedule for Spring Training, but doubts he will get in any games at McKechnie. Instead, look for him to play in B-games or sim games at Pirate City, which are easier to control. Most of his action in Spring Training will probably be live batting practice and sim games, in order to control his workload.
Below is a video of Taillon’s bullpen session from this morning.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
People should not be low on JT coming into this year. Jamey had everything he needs to have to be a big time pitcher, Size, breaking stuff, hard fastball. Tommy John is a frequent surgery anymore and should not directly impact people’s views on him as a prospect. Before you know it he will be in the MLB and people wont even remember he had TJ, and the people who do remember should do nothing but smile at the fact that he has had it done and over with
He looks good. Great to hear the hiss of a fastball again. If he does what he is capable of I don’t think them having a great staff can stop him from cracking it late in the season. A long way to go. Hopefully he gets the snap on his breaking stuff back quickly and his control is where it was or better by midseason.
If all goes well, how many innings do we expect Taillon to throw in AAA/MLB combined?
I have no idea. If I had to guess maybe 120-140? Probably on the low end of that?
I mean that could be all AAA but if he starts late and they take it a little slow building him up I would be surprised to see him get more than that. (Unless he gets some postseason starts. I smile thinking of that.)
deacs: Whoa – don’t get too far out on that plank. This kid just incurred a possible career ending injury. He underwent TJ to repair the problem, and the odds are definitely in his favor to have a successful rehab, but nothing is for sure at this point. A successful rehab may take him through April and May, and then he will get at least 50+ innings under very close scrutiny in AAA. If everything goes as planned up to that point, he could be available to the Pirates sometime after July. Any hiccup along the way . . . . .?
Its a bit much to call TJ a possible career ending injury. Career altering for sure, but almost no one retires as a direct result of a TJ surgery. The worst case scenario tends to be a guy who comes back, doesnt have the velo and either alters his game to try to make up for it or is out in a few years.
Now now. I said if all goes well. The injury was in April. I think it’s possible he gets 100 innings in – most in AAA and some bullpen work in the majors in September.
About 20,000. Oh, you mean this year? Nevermind