Video and Analysis From Jameson Taillon’s Rehab Start

The first time I ever saw Jameson Taillon pitch in a real game was in his pro debut. The first round pick showed off a flat fastball that night, leaving a lot of pitches up in the zone, and leading one AL East scout to doubt whether he could ever pitch down in the zone. As I detailed during Spring Training (with the help of Taillon and Jim Benedict), Taillon has put a lot of focus over the years since then trying to get down in the zone.

Today, in his first game against opponents from another organization since having Tommy John surgery, it was like a completely different pitcher. Taillon was working down in the zone with little effort, which was something that was difficult to imagine a few years ago. He threw one inning against the Phillies’ extended Spring Training squad, giving up a run on two hits, with no walks and two strikeouts. The two hits came on the first two pitches of the game, with both coming on grounders to the right side of the infield.

“It’s extended, so they’re out here swinging,” Taillon said. “You don’t make it out of extended by taking pitches. So you’ve got to be ready for that. I thought I got the ball down good. It felt clean. I threw strikes. It felt really good [coming out of the hand].”

Taillon’s fastball was 94-96 MPH. He threw his curve a few times, sitting in the 80-82 MPH range. He threw one 86 MPH changeup, leading to a shallow fly out to right field. Overall he threw 11 pitches, with nine going for strikes. He finished off his day by throwing eight more pitches in the bullpen, with Tom Filer watching on and giving him instruction.

“It was short, but it was very enlightening,” Filer said of Taillon’s outing. “I thought the way he threw the ball, there was a lot of ease to it. There was little labor to it. The angle was there, that we’re looking for. And of course he showed the ability to spin the ball, which was incredible.”

It’s hard to take much away from a one inning outing against players in the lowest levels of the minors. The most impressive thing was how good Taillon looked at keeping the ball down with ease.

“My focus in the throwing program now is that, when I play catch, I aim small, miss small,” Taillon said. “I’m not just trying to throw in a general vicinity. That competitiveness there transferred to my bullpens. The bullpens transferred to competition. Now I’ll be mad if I elevate a ball even as high as the catcher’s mask, where as before I might be pleased to throw a strike at the catcher’s mask, though it’s not quality.”

Taillon said that he’s going with the mentality of living in the bottom of the zone, and using that approach to create a new pitching identity for himself.

“It’s one of the things he’s really worked on,” Filer said. “He was starting to get it right before the injury happened, and now he’s going through the rehab program, it seems he’s got a little more self-awareness with his body. His arm action is good. He’s throwing the ball downhill, which is great.”

The next steps aren’t certain. Taillon said that he’s hoping to increase his innings from here, building up an inning each time until five innings, then get back to Indianapolis. He’s not sure of the exact progression, and he’s not even sure at this point if all of his outings will come in extended Spring Training, or if he’ll get a start with Bradenton or Altoona. A lot of that will depend on the schedules for those teams.

The biggest thing here is that Taillon is feeling healthy, which he mentioned after the start.

“Overall I’m happy,” Taillon said of his pitching. “I’m feeling really, really good.”

Here is a video of Taillon’s outing, with every pitch that he threw.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPtrS5BWvv4

  • The curve ball for a strike at the 1:47 mark was impressive.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    May 14, 2015 9:59 pm

    That is encouraging news – sounds like his velocity is likely to be at or near his previous speed, although this was a very short outing. Who knows, maybe this will make him a better pitcher, instead of a thrower.

    • The complaints for him and Cole were very similar if I remember – straight fastball, both guys were too hittable for how good the stuff was. Seems that Cole has made his adjustments. If Taillon does too (maybe he has) it’s going to be awesome watching Cole, Taillon and Glasnow all together at some point next year.

  • Very encouraging. I know a lot has to fall in place but does early August look at least like a POSSIBLE timetable for him to arrive in Pittsburgh should things progress as planned?

  • I like the fact that he has his MPH. I just hope the command comes back.

  • I am excited to watch him pitch all season long.

  • Taillon looks different than he did when I watched him pitch for Altoona. I found the video encouraging, to put it mildly.

Menu