The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted right-handed pitcher Jacob Taylor in the fourth round this year, and the tall pitcher looked promising. He was drafted out of the JuCo ranks, and it was reported that he could work 94-97 MPH with his fastball, while lacking command of the pitch and lacking secondary stuff. The reports and upside were good enough for us to have him ranked in our top 30, and MLB.com had him as their #20 prospect in today’s update. The Pirates liked him enough to sign him to an over-slot deal, paying him $500,000, which was about $60,000 over slot.
Unfortunately, Taylor has undergone Tommy John surgery. I learned at the end of last week that he was going for surgery, and Sean McCool was able to confirm it today with Larry Broadway, who is currently in Altoona. Taylor only made one start in the GCL, throwing two shutout innings while walking three and striking out two.
The timing of this injury is tough, as it basically means that Taylor won’t show up in a box score until 2017. He had a bit of an advantage in that he was 20 years old this year, having turned 20 on July 5th. He will return in his age 21/22 season, which isn’t too old, but he’s still going to need to work on his command and secondary stuff in the lower levels, so this could set him back.
The Pirates could work on his command during the rehab process, but he would still need to improve the secondary stuff. There’s also the fact that he’d be Rule 5 eligible in 2018, and this injury will cause him to miss his first year and a half. That’s not an issue now, but in the long-term if Taylor does work out, the Pirates will have to rush his development at some point.
Overall, this is a tough break for a guy who showed a lot of promise out of the draft.
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.
The TJS epidemic continues….John Smoltz was right on…
Didn’t the Dodgers lose a recently drafted catcher AND pitcher to TJ?
And no one noted there was an issue during his physical?
There is usually no way to tell on a physical – until the UCL actually tears.
Pretty much this. And even if it’s a partial tear, it can be hard to diagnose.
Tough time to have the injury. Hopefully maybe he can be back in time to pitch in the AFL next year. If not we won’t see him until 2017.
He will probably pitch next year, but it would be unlikely that this happens in regular games. Maybe he could get in GCL games at the end of the year. Then he’d most likely be ready for instructs, which is probably going to be better for him than the AFL, with the same or better results (they have more control over his workload and usage).
Thanks Tim. Tough to have tjs this time of the year. Any little setback during rehab and it can cost you all that extra time of gcl and instructs. They are eventually gonna need a league just for tjs rehabs.
There are ways around the rules, but the AFL has two that would eliminate him from playing and that’s level he is at(they try to keep it AA/AAA with some high-A guys mixed in) and also, being injury-free and playing for the last month of the season, which won’t happen
That’s tough luck all around. Ever heard of anything about changing or adjusting some of these rules on Rule 5 or team control since all of the TJ surgeries these days?
That’s a good idea Michael…kind of like a medical red shirt.