When Can We Expect to See Jameson Taillon and Nick Kingham in the Majors?

The Pittsburgh Pirates were hit pretty hard by Tommy John surgeries in 2015. What made matters worse was that most of the injuries came in the upper levels, impacting their rotation depth in the short-term.

Jameson Taillon was expected to return from the procedure in the second half of the 2015 season, but went down with hernia surgery once he was about to get back on the mound in an official game. Nick Kingham entered the year as one of the top guys who could arrive by mid-season, but suffered his own surgery before that could happen.

Brandon Cumpton and Casey Sadler have been used as rotation depth out of Indianapolis the last few years, and both went down early in the year with the injury. Cumpton was injured in Spring Training, then suffered a shoulder injury during his rehab this fall, putting him out for the 2016 season. Sadler had an elbow injury early in the year, and after trying to avoid surgery, he eventually had the procedure and will be out for the 2016 season as well. Even Angel Sanchez, who was claimed off waivers in 2014, and broke out in a small way in Altoona and Indianapolis in 2015, went down with Tommy John in August, putting him out for the 2016 season.

Without the injuries, this might be a different off-season in many ways. Maybe Jameson Taillon and/or Nick Kingham are current members of the rotation, and the Pirates aren’t looking for another starter right now. Maybe Sadler, Cumpton, and/or Sanchez are rotation depth out of Triple-A, removing the need for guys like Kyle Lobstein or anyone else they might get for the role of immediate depth. And if Taillon and/or Kingham did come up last year, then the Pirates probably wouldn’t have dealt for J.A. Happ as a replacement for A.J. Burnett, and maybe they would have added him this off-season as a reclamation project instead.

Maybe that last one is a little too speculative, at least in terms of what might have happened this off-season (I don’t think they would have dealt for Happ at the deadline if Taillon or Kingham were healthy).

The good news is that this is only a short-term setback. Taillon is now on pace to arrive in 2016, while Kingham is already progressing with his rehab work.

A few weeks ago, Neal Huntington commented that Taillon could be up in the majors this year, sooner than later. It won’t happen out of Spring Training, due to the time off with his injuries, but it could happen in 2016.

“Completely unfair to ask him to go from essentially two years not pitching against upper level competition, to make our club out of Spring Training,” Huntington said. “That’s why we’re almost closing the door on that. But he’s a very smart, very hard-working, very driven young man. It would not shock me if he’s in position to help us at some point this season, earlier than later.”

The “smart, hard-working, driven young man” part is what really stands out from Taillon’s rehab. He got a lot of praise last summer for his rehab work, from Huntington to Jim Benedict to any other coach that worked with him. He was driven, and used the time off and the rehab as an opportunity to improve.

One thing I’ve seen mentioned often is that Taillon has gone two years without pitching. I’ve mentioned many times that this isn’t true, writing about how he has been throwing since almost this time last year, and how he even made it in to some games in extended Spring Training. He had extended his rehab progress up to five innings, and was about to pitch in official games before his hernia surgery. He doesn’t have much time against upper level talent, but he used the time he did have on the mound to improve his game.

I wrote over the summer about how Taillon’s mechanics looked the best they’ve ever looked after his Tommy John surgery. Sean McCool asked him about this a few weeks ago at PirateFest, and Taillon noted that he used his time off to focus on this, among other things.

“It really bugs me when I hear people say I had two lost years, because those two lost years I was working with the best pitching coaches away from the drawing board, getting to refine what I was weak at,” Taillon said. “I got to work out more and get on a better eating schedule. I think that two lost years is kind of bogus, because I definitely got a lot better. I didn’t stall out by any means.”

During the Spring, I detailed how Taillon had been improving his mechanics over the years, working to reduce his drop and drive delivery, with the goal of getting more downward movement on his fastball. What I noticed this summer is that his fastball had a lot of downward movement that you didn’t see when he first entered pro ball, and the movement came with ease, along with an easy arm action and some reduced drop. Taillon described his fastball as being a lot “crisper”, with more deception and a clean delivery.

“[It] just feels real light and free coming out, no restrictions,” Taillon said. “The mechanics feel clean, arm feels clean. Probably the same velocity I’ve been throwing, but has more jump to it, more finish through the catcher’s glove. It just finishes a little better.”

Taillon also used the time off to work on his two-seam and changeup. Both pitches were a big focus when he made the jump to Altoona, and the focus increased in 2013. Once the four seam fastball command improved, Taillon moved to working on the secondary pitches, and the act of starting over from scratch in his rehab really helped the offerings.

The second injury from Taillon was a hernia injury, which led to him losing 20 pounds due to the soreness from the surgery. He’s been working with a nutritionist this off-season, and has been working out in Houston with Mark Melancon, Anthony Rendon, and others, doing weight training four days a week, and cardio two days a week.

Heading into the 2016 season, the big thing Taillon needs to work on is readjusting to upper level hitting. His mechanics and stuff look much improved due to the work he put in during his rehab. That stuff projects to play in the upper levels and the majors, but he’ll need a refresher before that can happen. As for coaching, there might be concern about the loss of Jim Benedict, who has worked with Taillon for years, and worked with him during his recent rehab work. However, Taillon also worked daily with Scott Elarton and frequently with Scott Mitchell last year, and both remain in the organization.

You can expect Taillon to play a role in the majors in 2016, and hopefully this time around that actually plays out as expected, unlike the 2014 and 2015 seasons when he was also expected to arrive mid-season.

As for Kingham, his rehab work might prevent him from arriving in the majors in 2016. His surgery took place at the end of May, after he felt a pop in his elbow following a pitch. He’s already throwing, having started back up in September. He reached 120 feet this month, but is currently taking a short break before starting back up in January. The goal is to be throwing bullpens by the end of Spring Training.

By comparison, Taillon threw his first bullpen at the end of January, and wasn’t set to pitch in official games until early July. The later start for Kingham would put him about two months behind Taillon, making it unlikely that he would arrive in 2016. The fact that the Pirates have Taillon and Tyler Glasnow as candidates to arrive mid-season makes it even more unlikely that Kingham would be rushed back. They also have guys like Chad Kuhl, Steven Brault, and Trevor Williams in the mix, although when Kingham eventually returns, he will jump ahead of that group as he has more upside.

With the way the Pirates have been conservative with their rehab work, you can probably expect Kingham to be out of the mix until 2017. At that point, he may also need some time to get readjusted to Triple-A hitting before making the jump to the majors. The good thing is that Kingham and Taillon talk regularly, and Taillon’s rehab has helped serve as a guide for what Kingham can expect. So the hope would be that thing would be smoother for Kingham, and that he can make the same positive adjustments to his stuff and mechanics during his rehab.

In the short-term, it hurt to have the MLB debuts delayed for Taillon and Kingham. The former should finally arrive this year, and the latter could arrive next year, giving the Pirates a good combo to pair with Gerrit Cole and Tyler Glasnow.

  • Thanks Tim!!!

  • Tim … Have you considered an open discussion page for book questions?
    For instance, I have an age old, general question about grades vs. risk: for instance, if you have a player as a 6.0/Medium. What stops you from giving him a 7.0/High? You could say 7 is possible “if” he addresses issues he currently has.

    And for a specific question, you have Glasnow as a Low risk of being an all-star, but you have Taillon as Medium risk to be a mid-rotation starter. I agree with your grades but I would have thought, based on the write ups that:
    -Glasnow has a lot to work on and would accordingly be at least a medium risk of not becoming an all-star
    -Taillon just needs to get back to competing, so he would be a low risk of being a mid-rotation guy

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    December 29, 2015 10:27 am

    Off the topic of the Pirates, but a free agent question….is anyone else surprised by the seemingly lack of offers that Chris Davis is getting? The only one made public was the one by the Orioles, and that was 3-4 weeks ago…I thought the Yankees and/or Cardinals would go hard after him…

    • I think this is a situation where the client demands severely limit the market, and existing contracts in those markets eliminate teams that would *want* to sign a Chris Davis. Lack of market doesn’t reflect lack of value more than circumstance.

      I mean, how many teams would be willing to give *any* player a 5+ year deal making $25m+ per year? I count six AL clubs – NYY, BOS, DET, LAA, HOU, TEX – and five NL clubs – WAS, STL, CHC, LAD, ARI. Massive contracts clog the position in NYY, BOS, DET, LAA, TEX, and WAS. Really, really good first basemen already play for CHC, LAD, and ARI. Meaning I only really see Houston and St Louis as reasonable markets outside of Baltimore, and the Cards almost certainly would want to spend that kind of money on a younger player with more defensive value.

      If the price tag dropped to $100m or so things would open up quite a bit.

      • Have the Cardinals ever given out that kind of money? The 2 largest contracts they’ve even handed out were Matt Holliday for $120MM over 7 years and Adam Wainwright for $97.5MM over 5 years and Wainwright. They’ve never dished out a $20MM AAV contract before. I don’t see the Cardinals as players for Davis.

        • Despite the narrative shoved down our throats they actually made two $200m+ offers to Pujols before being “smart” enough to “allow” him to sign with LAA, but your point still stands. However, they made unsuccessful ~$200m runs at Price and Heyward this winter, have a billion dollar TV deal kicking in, and have a GM who straight up came out and said they need to adjust organizational philosophy.

          They’re still not dumb, and won’t be bidding $150m for Davis, but I bet they’d get awfully interested if the price came down to the 4 yr/$100m range.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        December 29, 2015 3:10 pm

        Actually Davis is a very good defensive first baseman, and an acceptable RFer as well….but I agree, there are not too many teams that (a) need a first baseman and (b) want to pay $150-$200M for one. I still think the Cards dip their toe in on this one, along with the Orioles obviously. I could see teams like CHW and Detroit wanting him, as well as Washington…

        • And even a very good first baseman has little overall defensive value compared to the up-the-middle positions.

          The White Sox would be a fit as long as they’re fine with Abreu DH’ng, but I have no clue what you do with Davis on a roster that also have Miggy and VMart.

      • The market determines value through the pricing mechanism. Like any other job, in an economic sense a ball player is only worth what someone will willingly pay him.

        • Not necessarily.

          Having guaranteed contracts severely limits demand for players like Davis, whose own demands already limit him to a small corner of the market. Teams already committed to players under contract may very well value Davis more than their incumbent but acquiring him is infeasible due to the existing contract being guaranteed.

          • Very interesting point! The longer the initial contract, the greater chance that value can depart from compensation … in either direction. Bad contracts, from the team’s perspective, can inhibit their capacity to sign replacements. So the Market is imperfect. But there are a lot of factors that mess with salaries. Who in their right mind thinks a pitcher like Kazimir is actually worth 15MM a year? TV money skews the markets sense of reality. In the end all anybody who gets paid can say is, “heh, I was worth it to the other party at the time”.

            • Couldn’t agree more!

              Pitchers, especially, seem like they’re always in demand. You can literally only play one first baseman at a time, but you have five slots for the rotation and teams with resources can sign a reasonable #2/#3 like Kazmir to be their 5th best starter, if they so choose. Good pitching will almost always be in demand, by somebody, because the demand for potentially 150 good pitchers outpaces the number of humans who are actually considered good pitchers.

              I think you’ve defined what the Pirates try to do as an org; find players whose *physical* value on the field outpaces their *contractual* value defined by the market.

  • Tim … Also, I am wondering if you think Kuhl could in theory have as high or higher upside than Kingham? (Not necessarily probability)

  • Tim … You seem to be scooping all other Pittsburgh reporters on Taillon. Their reports range from wondering if he’ll really pitch again to “he’s lost his prospect status” to the “lost two years” that angers Taillon. From your reports, I thought he had addressed his biggest concern last year – the flat and hittable fastball. Any concern his hernia surgery “undid” any of that progress? It certainly seemed to derail Morton.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    December 28, 2015 8:30 pm

    It wasn’t that long ago when it seemed like we had an embarrassment of riches in starting pitching depth, either in Pittsburgh or knocking at the door…now, we have to sign the likes of Vogelsong…sigh

  • My advise for Taillon… Pancakes.

    Best wishes for a great season to the
    prospect that some said could be
    better than Cole.

  • wait…..I see no reason why Kingham wouldn’t be set to begin pitching in rehab games assuming no major setbacks, by july why couldn’t he be back in the AAA rotation?

  • Yanks pull a move for Chapman, making hating the Yankees just too easy now.

    • As a Pirate fan, I love how awful the Reds are at rebuilding.

      • They move a truly elite stuff closer to a team with solid top prospects….but forget to actually get any of their top 4 guys per reports.

        Yankees just made their bullpen terrifying on the back end without giving up Judge, Sanchez, Mateo, or Bird. Lawd.

        Nice to see CIN rebuild their team into a middling team maybe 3 years from now.

        • Reds Ownership Partner #1: *looks at standings since 2013* “Boy, that escalated quickly”

          Reds Ownership Partner #2: “Let’s promote the guy our shitty GM has been “grooming” and also allow said shitty GM to maintain decision making powers.”

          Walt Jocketty: “Solid plan, gentlemen.”

          • Total gift from CIN now that i see the return.

            I get the hit to the value due to the off field issues for Chapman, but goodness gracious.

            • Chapman is gone from being our problem- so i’ll take that. Now that he is with the Yankees he will likely end up in jail, injured, or just plain become a fat alcoholic as most pitchers they accumulate

            • You can also thank pig headed Brandon Phillips. When they couldn’t dump him, they had to do this, in essence, a salary dump.

          • And yet we still won’t beat them…..

      • I heard they’re considering bringing in Burnitz.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        December 28, 2015 8:31 pm

        I just hope we can actually beat them, and the Brewers, this year…

      • Reds are definitely behind the Astros and cubs’ quick turnarounds and on paper behind the Phillies and braves’ current rebuilds, but it’s not the organization’s fault that Phillips broke down the Nats deal, Aroldis self imploded his own value at the worst possible moment and Jay Bruce has been arguably a terrible baseball player the last two seasons.

        If Votto has a hot start to the year and maintains an above average pace through the summer, I’d listen to offers if I were Jocketty at the deadline. Might be the only piece to get a top-level prospect back.

        • But it most certainly *is* their fault for pointlessly hanging on to Frazier, Cueto, and Chapman long past peak value. That was their call, their mistake.

          The prospects they *actually* received for those players don’t equal half of what they could’ve done. Those three alone were far, faaar more valuable than what Huntington had to flip when taking over for Littlefield.

    • Something about Chapman and the NY Nightlife/Media might make this pretty volatile.

      • I almost feel bad for how happy i am he is out of the division and playing for the Yankees. Be fun to watch him deal with that media and watch the media try to deal with the fact that he isnt exactly a terrific human being.

        I imagine they’ll find ways to excuse his stuff and ignore it all right up until he has a bad stretch of games on the field.

        • What was the Reds highpoint, 2010 I guess?

          Man, that 2013 Wildcard will be in some peoples nightmares for awhile. People in Cincinnati probably despise everything Pittsburgh,

        • Its okay Luke- We still have Mike Leake to annoy us by going 3-4 with a stolen base everytime he plays us with the Cards

  • Regardless if Taillon and Glasnow exceed already high expectations it seems like the Bucs need at least one and probably two more starters for the year. Can’t expect the whole staff to go a whole season injury free and even if they do that still leaves Locke and Vogelsong in the rotation til Taillon and Glasnow come up. Personally I’d like to see Cliff Lee be one of the two. He certainly has the highest ceiling of any “reclamation” project

  • How they use Taillon early on will be really telling of how they plan to use him late.

    Could easily try to limit the innings early with some extended ST work and then AAA work to get upper level live action games.

  • Nice recap, Tim.

  • I don’t care where Taillon pitches as long as he is injury free.

    People need to pump the brakes on all the young pitchers. Getting them innings will be the most important thing. It took Cole 40 starts before he was better than a 1.0-1.5 WAR pitcher

    • Based on what, exactly? Cole had 19 starts in 2013, the year in which he debuted, and posted a 2.5 WAR and 2.2 RA9-WAR. In 2014, he took a step back and was a 2.3 WAR, 1.6 RA9-WAR pitcher (but that’s still above your range). But after 40 starts, he had roughly accumulated 4.5 WAR and 4 RA9-WAR. He got to the 1-1.5 WAR total after about 8-12 starts, and that’s just those starts, not even projecting over a full season.

    • You using fWAR? Because his pure WAR has never been that low.

      Cole never placed below a 2 WAR. Cole is what the organization would call a giant success in terms of a young pitcher showing up and contributing right away. Guy showing up and being mid 3 ERA or lower as a rookie.

      Innings are surely the biggest thing, but anything near Cole-level production is a huge win and would solidify this rotation in a big way.

    • Your overall – accurate – point is going to get buried in the – inaccurate – details of that last sentence…

      • The crazy part is, the retorts mentioned 2 separate values. So goes life in pitching WAR I guess.

        • Who posted different values? I see me saying nothing below 2 WAR, another person saying he had 2.5 and 2.3 WAR.

          Your point was solid, innings are big and we cant assume they’ll be great. But you presented false stats on the end of it, and it was really far off. No one really confused anything in retort.

          • I did present *false stats*. I used baseball reference.

            • His bWAR was 1.3 as a rookie in 19 starts. As a sophomore, it was 1.2 in 22 starts. He was still a 1.0-1.5 bWAR pitcher in half the starts you indicated.

              • Will Taillon have a better bWAR this year than Cole his rookie year?

                • I’ve addressed my expectations for Taillon and Glasnow in an edit to my original reply. The point I was making was that you severely undersold Cole’s contributions as a rookie.

                  Cole came up and pitched like a strong 3 immediately. I don’t think it’s outlandish to expect Taillon and/or Glasnow to at least pitch like a decent 3 or a fringe 3/4 or a strong 4, all of which could provide nice boosts this season.

                  • I disagree with your second paragraph.

                    Sorry for misrepresenting Coles WAR.

                    • So you don’t think Cole pitching to a mid-3 ERA, about 8.5 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in his first 41 starts qualifies as “strong 3,” or a strong 3 as a rookie with a 3.22 ERA, 8 K/9 and just over 2 BB/9? Do you think a “strong 3” should have pitched to a low-3 ERA? Because aces and #2’s do that.

                      Or do you disagree because you think it’s outlandish to expect at least one of Taillon or Glasnow to contribute immediately as, at worst, a strong #4 next year with upside for better? Because saying that expectation is outlandish is to say it’s a near certainty both flop completely.

                    • I’m not entirely sure Taillon has proven he can throw 150 innings and stay healthy, let alone 200.

                    • you can’t really disagree with a statement that fits the definition (as previously presented by tim williams) of a #3 starter

                    • I do not believe Taillon or Glasnow will be equivalent to a #3 starter or match any mother#%=÷ing version of WAR Gerrit Cole had his first two years. I hope to be wrong.

                    • Okay, well that is quite possible. We were arguing whether or not Cole competed as a #3, not whether or not it was likely we’d get that from Taillon or Glasnow. I think assuming they are both 100% healthy. you might have a 25% chance of one of them being a #3 this year.

                    • In general, I think a lot of the expectations from young guys coming from Indy are a little higher than they should be.

                      But honestly, I am looking foward to what guys down there have to offer. Finally get to answer some player development/draft issues that seem to be topic of discussion a lot around here and elsewhere.

                    • 4.0 Era the first year, 3.5 the second, 3.0 the third year will be great.

            • Gotcha gotcha, to each their own but when there is that large of a difference between WAR site to site…..i stop using one site.

              Nothing against Bref, but its not my reliable source in those areas. Appreciate the ease to find financial info and years of control on a contract, but its formula for advanced stats too often comes off shockingly different than most other sites. Similar to ESPN and its WAR totals, i really dont use ESPN for anything stats related to players. But thats also due to ESPN just being terrible at what it does in general.

              • My mistake. I believe I had been warned before of this.

                • Oh i know people who still prefer Bref, and it does really make it tough to discuss stuff when they are throwing out so clearly different totals. Comes down to their formula really.

                  I really do like BRef for much of its stuff, just not advanced stats.

                • Baseball *Prospectus* has much different proprietary metrics, Baseball *Reference* really only has one, and that’s pitcher WAR.

                  FanGraphs uses a FIP-based calculation, whereas Bref accounts for all runs scored.

                  You can decide for yourself whether or not a pitcher’s actual value should be determined theoretically or by what actually happened on the field.

                • And thinking about it, even beyond WAR the ERA/FIP/xFIP stuff from Cole would be best case for young arms early on. Throwing out mid 3 stuff that early aint a sure thing for young arms.

    • Gerrit Cole was worth 4.8 WAR through his first 41 starts.

      • I used baseballreference.

        And after watching a lot of highly touted pitching arms fall off in the 90s I’m skeptical of all these guys turning into studs. What the Mets did is extremely rare. I hope to be proven wrong.

  • Since he is likely to have an innings limit on him this season, plus have his arm monitored closely, what are the chances he begins the season either piggy backing in Fla or doing some relief work. Then if he’s “safe” to bring up, would he only be a bullpen option for the big club?

    • Innings limit, yes. I don’t think the arm is an issue any longer. JMO.

      • agreed- no worries about that at this point. every inning saved now means one more inning of dominant Taillon later before his next TJ

    • Watch for him to get 10-12 starts at AAA and come up with somewhere between 50 and 75 Innings. Cole had 12 starts at AAA with 68 IP and a 2.91 ERA. He then had 19 starts with the Pirates and 117 IP with a 3.22 ERA. I doubt Taillon will get more than 15 starts in MLB, and no more than maybe 100 IP. Grand total will be around 170 IP for the year at the most, and the Pirates could even go to an extended Rotation to save innings for he and Glasnow if the Pirates are in solid contention for the pennant. Because of the injury to Kingham and the performance of Chad Kuhl in 2015, and the type of pitches Kuhl throws with Command, I favor him to be up before Kingham – possibly in June or July.

      • 170 seems aggressive, and that hasnt been the Pirates MO to this point with young arms. Seems like a limit of 150 would be just so Pirate-like.

        ~60 innings in AAA, leaving 90 in the majors. Give or take 10 innings either way. One thing they might not love is assuming he can be at his best in the majors in his 130-150 innings after not throwing near 100 for 2 years.

        • Glasnow has also struggled once his inning count approached 100 two years in a row now. Velocity dropped, curveball flattened, and control wavered.

          They’ll have to figure out how to build stamina in that arm before worrying too much about him being an asset after August.

          • One would hope that those struggles for Glasnow were the maturing process in learning. As in, he is already well into building that stamina due to the fatigue of past years.

            Still young enough im not super worried, but it is a key part of this year for him.

            • This is very admittedly in the what-the-hell-do-I-know category, but it wouldn’t surprise me if effort was more of an issue here than arm strength/stamina.

              Glasnow is a fourseam/curveball power pitcher, and he seems to *like* being that guy. If he’s coming out of the gate max effort lighting up radar guns, I’m not sure if that’s ever sustainable over 180-200 IP. The late season struggles *could* simply mean that he needs to be more of a 93-95 mph guy consistently than one in the upper 90s until his arm/body can’t do it any more.

              • The ironic thing about that is, him settling in to be a consistent 95 guy could allow him to quickly have better control of the FB.

                Sit 94-95 from the first pitch, maintain velo into the 7th inning and have 2-3 98 pitches in ya.

          • He’s a beanpole- it’s actually pretty simple how to increase his stamina….do exactly the opposite of whatever Locke does 🙂

        • I agree with Emjay here Luke- He is far enough removed timewise from the surgery, i don’t think 170 is that aggressive, especially if somewhere around 1/3 of those innings is in a more controlled less stressful atmosphere of AAA

          • Its not about the health of the arm, but the chances of future injury along with performance. You dont go from less than 50 innings to 170 easily. At best, he gets tired as he reaches 170 and just sees a drop in production.

            His arm is healthy and likely strong, but a whole lot more goes into that that makes a pitcher able to increase his innings by 100-120. The grind of 170 innings isnt easy for rookies who are used to it, he’s not.

            • well part of that is the ridiculous conditioning he’s been able to do to get his body into top shape and i’m assuming his arm as well- most rookies don’t have that time, and most returning TJ patients don’t end up having the extra time to condition and recover that arm that Taillon got (unfortunately) due to the hernia either, so it’s a little more unique of a situation than you’d usually see

              • I think that is about as optimistic as possible, since it is insinuating that you can condition yourself into being able to increase innings by 100 over a year.

                He can be in excellent shape and not be able to go 170 and be good at the ML level.

                You are asking him to throw a career high in innings after 2 years off and throw half of them against quality he’s never seen during that career high he’s never thrown. He better be Superman.

                • Proper training- not pitching X number of innings, is how you get to 170+ innings. You can agree or disagree, it is just my opinion, not a fact. I think the problem is- very few pitchers understand the level of dedication and proper training necessary to be able to pitch 170-200 innings anymore, and as fewer and fewer pitchers do it, fewer strength conditioning coaches are around to help them get there.

            • That being said- I’m just hoping here…..you could very well be correct

              • The number of 170 IP for Taillon was a max amount for the whole year. We are all tossing hopes out there that he gets to ST/AAA and throws well. If he does 50 good injury free innings at AAA and another 60 or 70 with the Pirates at an ERA of around 4.00, I will be very satisfied.

                The Pirates need to graduate at least 2 Prospect SP’s to the majors in 2016. We needed to get a pitcher up in 2015, but injuries precluded that from happening. Now in 2016 we could very well use two #3/4 or better young and controllable SP’s.

                • In terms of staggering their start points so they don’t leave in the same year it might be preferable to have one come up in July and on be a September call up whose start date would be May of 2017. That is predicated on the signing of a #3 this winter and a lack of injuries to the rotation next Summer.

                  • I hope we do not sign a #3 or anything else this Winter. I am comfortable with where we are at right now, and the only pitcher I would like to add is a Joe Blanton type who can be a #4/5 and a solid performer out of the pen. Pretty soon we will be counting down to Pitchers and Catchers reporting, and some real bargain may just fall into the Pirates hands between now and then. They are contenders, their ballpark favors pitchers, and the reputation for rebuilding pitchers will all play in their favor.

                    • I don’t see anyone on the roster who is likely to produce a 3.25 to 3.75 ERA to fall in line behind Cole and Liriano. Niese will likely post a 3.75 to 4.25 ERA, #4 performance. Locke and any other veteran starter will be worse. Reasonable expectations for Taillon or Glasgow when they come up will be a 4.0 ERA for the first year, 3.5 for the second, 3.0 for the third. So if we don’t sign a 3 we have a hole in 2016. If we do we can break in one of Taillon or Glasgow in 2016 replacing Locke who moves to the bullpen, and the other in 2017.

    • He’ll start in Indianapolis, but they’ll limit his innings early in the year, so that he can pitch late in the season.

      • Kind of a catch 22 for the Bucs. They need him to get experience against better level hitters in light of his 37 innings above AA but he also has never pitched more than 147 inning in his career.

  • Taillon is going to pitch better than Glasnow this year. Just my opinion

    • I bet Glasnow is better. I’ll also be glad to admit I’m wrong. These two are going to be fun to watch for years.

      • Glasnow has the higher ceiling. I think Taillon has the higher floor. I think Taillon may be better for a year or 2 cause it’ll take Glasnow longer to put it all together. Taillon looks like he has top 25 pitcher in the game upside like maybe Matt Harvey or even possibly Adam Wainwright but Glasnow’s ceiling is right-handed Randy Johnson, multiple no-no’s, 300K season, best pitch in the game territory. I honestly think Glasnow has a higher ceiling than Cole and Cole is looking like he could win a Cy Young in the future. I’d love to see the Bucs get Cole to some sign an extension so that him, Glasnow, and Taillon are all Bucs in their prime.

        • Nora’s is his agent so no chance he signs an extension. He will go FA when he gets the chance

          • It’s Boras, and that’s not entirely true. Yes, he does encourage his clients to test free agency but he has had multiple clients sign extensions prior to free agency.

            • Not as long as there are teams on the west coast that will spend money. The PBC has not shown that they will pay big. 38m being their biggest contract ever! Schmidt went to Giants, i believe. I will hope for a miracle and be very happy if it happens. Too much money going around for Cole to stay here.

              • $38MM? Kendall’s contract was for $60MM and Cutch’s was for $51.5MM. Polanco’s offer was for $75MM.

          • maybe a 1% chance……Cole could always fire him. Wouldn’t be the first

            • Its not as if Boras demands his client go to FA. If Cole wants to be in PGH, he can be. Yes, Boras wants his client to test FA and get max value. But if Cole wants to be in PGH and tells Boras he wants to stay, Boras has proven he’ll do what the client says.

              So really, Cole dictates how serious Boras gets with PGH and extension talks. If Cole doesnt clearly want to stay here, Boras wont seriously think PGH. If Cole says he wants to stay in PGH (for a non pathetic deal) they’ll get to the table.

              • Boras isn’t going to let his clients take a lesser sum to stay with ANY team, which means he (Cole) isn’t going to sign an extension, since we (you and I) know we (Pittsburgh) can’t or won’t afford market rate. If Cole wanted to take less and sign with Pittsburgh an extension, he (Cole) WOULD fire Boras as he (Cole again) doesn’t need top tier representation to accommodate that arrangement, I (or anyone whom can draw up a legal contract on legal zoom) can do this.

                • He works for his clients, not the other way around. He generally has clients that are not interested in extensions but there have been examples of top guys who have signed extensions and forgone free agency.

                  • Yes- and they have all done so at their value, not at a discount. And we can’t afford him at his value. Why would Cole pay Boras the insane commission he gets paid, while also taking less than he can get elsewhere? If he decides to sign an extension, at a discount for his market value, he would fire Boras first and choose a cheaper agent. It’s common sense. It would be like building an Olympic size swimming pool to soak in. Can we move on now?

                • All great points here, except that is all barring that the Pirates will want to sign him to an extension that will most likely be the largest contract in Pirates history. If Nutting willing to open up the checkbook to sign, or attempt to sign McCutchen, then there is a good possibility the Bucs try to keep Cole. So we’ll get a good prediction of that over the next couple years with how McCutchen is handled.

                  • Its not a matter of choose to, or choose not to: we can’t afford it; he’d be in excess of 25mm per year at this point. It isn’t even a discussion point honestly.

                  • ….and honestly, if they signed Cutch, then the chance of signing Cole would go from 1% to 0- absolute zero like the point where everything in the universe freezes solid. If you think it’s a matter of opening up the checkbook you are wrong. I can open up mine and send out a check for 25million, but there is no money in it to pay the check. Unless you want a team of Cutch and Cole and 23 minor leaguers for the 5 years after the signing, it isn’t happening.

              • The union is also in the mix. They frown on low ball contracts. We can’t even afford a modest contract with Cole in three years. But, alway the optimist, fingers crossed.

        • i know Glasnow has had control problems throughout his short career, but i look at three stats for a pitcher.
          1> hr/9 0.4
          2> whip 1.06
          3> baa .178
          The walks/hits per innings include all the wild stuff talked about. I think Glasnow could be the right handed Johnson. Now if Brault could be that lefty, we could expect to be in every game we play and win most.

        • So Glasnow is Randy Johnson and Tallion is Matt Harvey or Adam Wainright…and Cole can win a Cy Young award……Those are pretty optimistic projections. I guess the egg nog must have tasted good…..

          • Why wouldn’t I be optimistic when talking about ceilings. Realistically, Glasnow could struggle with his command and something akin to the Jeff Samardjiza of 2015 and Jamison Taillon could end up being Dylan Bundy part deux. Jamison is 6’6 with a killer curveball and Glasnow is 6’8 with a killer curve and a devastating fastball. The difference between the 2 right now is that Taillon has better control and more offerings. Now granted, Randy Johnson had a wicked slider instead of a curve but he was ridiculously tall and lanky and brought the heat. Although, he didn’t really put it all together until he was 27/28. I hope Glasnow puts it all together sooner but the ceiling is still there. I just think that Taillon presents a lower risk. I don’t think it’s optimistic about Cole. He is already one of the 10 best pitchers in the majors in his 3rd season. He’s a hardworker and I believe he’ll continue to get better. It wasn’t long ago that people thought Taillon had the higher ceiling. I’m excited at the possibility of the Bucs having 3 aces come 2017-18.

        • I don’t think Cole will ever sniff a Cy Young award. His secondary pitches are average, at best. That said, I’m glad we have him.

        • Taillon has a higher upside than Glasnow and will be up sooner than Glasnow but both have high ceilings.

      • as long as one of them pitches well, I don’t care who. in 2017 it would be nice if they both pitched well

    • I agree. I just expect more polish and consistency out of Taillon. Glasnow has a better chance to completely dominate for stretches, but I could see him having more rough outings, too.

      • Taillon’s maturation has also increased his baseball intelligence far beyond that of Glasnow, IMO. Awful hard to teach a 21 yo kid with a 98 mph fastball and dominating stuff against low level hitters to be a pitcher. I think Taillon will have a much better idea of what he’s trying to do out there against big league hitters.

        • His baseball IQ has been, for me, the best part of watching Taillon progress as a young pitcher. Feels like a much different player in general the last year or so, even without playing a ton of games.

          • i hope so too, but there is a big difference between practice and games…..i am hoping he doesn’t lose any of this in the fires of competition

            • Thats not close to what im saying. His baseball IQ isnt jurt fire and heart, hell 2 years off likely feeds his desire.

              What has changed him, for me, is how he clearly gets the fine points of pitching. He’s not just throwing, which i see in Glasnow, but he’s getting what he needs to do to be elite. Downhill plane, quality mechanics. He bought in to things that arent really all that sexy for young players. Idk, thats not a given for all young guys to work that hard on things that arent velocity or stats.

              • no I agree, but in game situation…….that penchant for competition can overwhelm you and all of a sudden you flash back to your entire life…….and boom- drop and drive. Newly learned mechanics that haven’t been battle tested can drop in that kind of environment, as much as i hope it won’t happen, we still have to wait and see.

                • The entire point of focusing on mechanics is to train your body to ignore reverting to poor habits in game.

                  Lack of “battle tested” means you have to rely even more on trusting your mechanics. My point was its a huge positive sign that he already at a young age puts a ton of emphasis on his mechanics, which is what will really elevate him. Guys that just throw are far more prone to showing up not in game ready and getting rocked.

                  For me, a guy who focuses on his mechanics and trusts that to be there is far less a worry to get shaken by rust. He needs experience against big level pitching, but him trusting the mechanics are what will allow him to succeed more than natural talent or 60 games in AAA.

                  • Hard to trust mechanics you’ve never used in a big game situation in your whole life……I understand your point, and I know you understand mine as well. The whole point of training troops is so they don’t freak out and run in combat situation, but you know what……..some still do.

        • And it was actually pretty easy to see the difference. Glasnow just has a little way to go to get to be an MLB ready pitcher.

        • Since he has pitched 37 innings above AA ball I am not sure how you can evaluate how he will do against AAA hitters much less big league hitters.