Prospect Watch: Seven Shutout Innings From Jameson Taillon

P2 Top 30

A look at how the current top 30 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. If a player is out for the season, he will be removed and everyone below him will move up a spot. Removing these guys doesn’t mean they have lost prospect status. It is just an attempt to get 30 active prospects on the list. Rankings are from the 2016 prospect guide, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.

We’re working on a solution for the PHP stat codes not working in the app.

1. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] include_once (‘./p2-stats/stats_functions.php’);
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2. Austin Meadows, CF, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(640457,’B’,’20160503′);
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3. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605137,’B’,’20160503′);
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4. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592791,’P’,’20160503′);
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5. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(593700,’B’,’20160503′);
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6. Harold Ramirez, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(623912,’B’,’20160503′);
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7. Reese McGuire, C, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(624512,’B’,’20160503′);
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8. Elias Diaz, C, Pirates – Disabled List.

9. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

10. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(663647,’B’,’20160503′);
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11. Kevin Newman, SS, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20160503′);
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12. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(650817,’P’,’20160503′);
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13. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20160503′);
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 14. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, Bradenton – Extended Spring Training

15.Cole Tucker, SS, West Virginia – Disabled List

16. Chad Kuhl, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(641771,’P’,’20160503′);
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17. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20160503′);
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18. Mitch Keller, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(656605,’P’,’20160503′);
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19. Clay Holmes, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20160503′);
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20. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(591994,’B’,’20160503′);
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21. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(663399,’P’,’20160503′);
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22. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20160503′);
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23. Barrett Barnes, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(608627,’B’,’20160503′);
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25. Gage Hinsz, RHP,  – Extended Spring Training

26. Adrian Valerio, SS, – Extended Spring Training

27. Adam Frazier, INF/OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(624428,’B’,’20160503′);
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28. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20160503′);
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29. Jordan Luplow, OF/3B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656669,’B’,’20160503′);
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30. JT Brubaker, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(664141,’P’,’20160503′);
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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Jameson Taillon made his fifth start of the season on Tuesday night. He came in with a 1.54 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 23.1 innings. His 0.86 WHIP ranked him third in the league.

In the first inning, Jameson Taillon started lead-off hitter Jaff Decker with two fastballs, getting a pop out to left field for the first out. On a 2-2 pitch to the second hitter, Taillon gave up a single up the middle on a curve. The next batter also lined a curve into center field, but this one was caught for the second out. The next batter flew out to center field. He threw 17 pitches in the inning, 13 for strikes. The fastball was 92-94, he threw two change-ups, both for strikes, and both curves were hit fairly well.

In the second inning, Taillon struck out the first batter on three pitches, starting his with a curve looking before getting a curve swinging for the out. Three pitches later, he got his second out on a foul ball near third base. Another three pitches later, he got a fly ball to left field for the third out. Nine pitches, eight for strikes, three were curves, all for strikes. No change-ups this inning, but he didn’t need it with the quick work he made of Durham.

Taillon got Jake Goebbert to ground out on the first pitch of the third. Two pitches later, he got a grounder to shortstop for the second out. Jaff Decker finished the grounder trifecta, hitting a 95 MPH fastball to second base for the third out. This inning was seven fastballs (four for strikes) and a change-up for a strike.

Through three innings, Taillon was doing great, but Durham starter Matt Andriese was dominating, setting down nine in order, seven by strikeouts. Some might remember his brother David Andriese, who was a recent late round pick of the Pirates, playing a couple seasons in the lower levels.

In the fourth, Taillon started with his second strikeout, both swinging on a curve. The next pitch was lined to Danny Ortiz in center field. Two pitches later, Taillon got the third out on a change-up grounded hard down to third base line, with Jung-ho Kang making the play. This inning was seven pitches, four fastballs, one curve and two change-ups. The other change was hit hard foul down the left field line.

The fifth started with a 3-2 grounder to second base. Taillon used all three pitches this at-bat. After missing with two curves, the next batter flew out to the warning track in left-center field. He got the third out on a fly ball to deep right field. Just three batters, but he needed 14 pitches this inning.

The sixth started with a high pop up to left field. The next batter popped out to second base. Jaff Decker broke up the string of 16 straight retired by working a walk. Taillon got out of the inning on a ball hit to the right field wall, which was caught by Willy Garcia. Taillon worked hard in this inning, throwing 20 pitches.

The seventh started with a strikeout looking, as Taillon threw all three pitches for strikes. He jammed the next hitter, breaking his bat, but the ball was fought out and it dropped into center field. The next batter grounded out to second base, advancing the runner who was on first base. Taillon got the next hitter to line out to deep center for the last out, ending his night. He threw 89 pitches total, 58 for strikes.

This was a strong outing because he was efficient with his pitches and got through seven innings without allowing a run. He gave up two hits, but one was on a great pitch. The walk was a battle and he was near the zone the entire game. There was a lot of solid contact and his 6:7 GO/AO ratio doesn’t include some well struck line drives. He didn’t get a lot of swing and misses, especially not compared to his earlier starts. Definitely not your typical Taillon outing because he’s been getting a lot of grounders and averaging a strikeout per inning prior to this game. The curve looked better than his last game, the change-up has looked good in all five games, though there was more contact this game, just no damage. The fastball was 92-94 the entire start, with just that one 95 mentioned above. He did a good job keeping it down in the zone.

So the basic summary is that he threw strikes and all three pitches looked good, but he gave up a lot of fly balls and wasn’t getting his usual swing and misses. Regardless of the last two issues, he has allowed one run over his last 20 innings now, limiting the opposition to 11 base runners.

Indianapolis won this game 1-0 in the 12th inning on a bases loaded walk-off single from Adam Frazier. The inning started with a single from Dan Gamache, followed by a Willy Garcia double. After a Mel Rojas Jr. infield pop out, Durham walked Jacob Stalling to load the bases. Max Moroff struck out as a pinch-hitter, before Frazier delivered the game winning hit.

Josh Bell went 3-for-5 with three singles in this game and his best hit ball was an out on a line drive to deep right field. He has reached base at least once in every game this season. Jung-ho Kang went 1-for-4 with a single. He hit two hard grounders for outs and struck out looking on a pitch in the dirt that was well out of the strike zone. Kang briefly questioned the call, which was a very poor call on the part of the umpire.

Indianapolis won this game despite striking out 17 times, including 14 times in the first seven innings. The double by Willy Garcia was the only extra-base hit of the game from either side. He also made a terrific throw from right-center on a ball hit off the wall to get Jake Goebbert at second base on what looked like a sure double.

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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Altoona hitters had an interesting challenge in Tuesday’s game. It’s not often that you see players with MLB experience in Double-A, but usually those players are either on a rehab assignment, or their big league time was very limited. In Tuesday’s game, the Curve faced Lucas Harrell, who was a starting pitcher for two full seasons in the majors, plus put in some time in three other seasons. He is a regular in the Erie rotation this year. Altoona was able to pick up seven hits and two walks against him, but Harrell won the battle with six shutout innings.

On the other side, Erie put a hurting on starter David Whitehead and continued when Brett McKinney came into the game. They only stopped hitting when outfielder Jonathan Schwind came on in the seventh and recorded the last four outs without giving up a hit. Whitehead got knocked around for ten runs (six earned) on 14 hits, three walks and a hit batter. The 14 hits are three more than he allowed in his first four starts combined. The three walks however, tie his lowest total this season. McKinney gave up four runs in his two innings.

Harold Ramirez had three singles in four trips to the plate. He has raised his average 50 points in his last six games, now hitting .244 on the season. Anderson Feliz hit his sixth double, the only extra-base hit for the Curve. Stetson Allie had a single and drew two walks. Austin Meadows went 1-for-4 with a single. He is 5-for-30 in his first seven games.

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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BRADENTON – Alex McRae pitched six innings tonight, giving up a run on seven hits, with a walk and two strikeouts. Despite the strong outing, Bradenton Manager Michael Ryan didn’t think McRae had his best stuff.

“He didn’t have his best stuff, he’ll be the first to admit,” Ryan said. “The defense that was behind him took a little bit of some pressure off. When the pressure wasn’t on, he was able to make some pitches, and that settled him in, in my opinion.”

McRae had some rough innings, but benefited from the defense. He gave up a leadoff single, which was erased by a caught stealing from Tomas Morales. He gave up a leadoff double in the second, which was erased when Elvis Escobar threw the runner out at third on a sac fly attempt in the next at-bat. The fourth inning saw him give up three singles with two outs, with one run scoring, but he got out of the jam.

“He just fell behind some hitters, but the inner competitor in him kept him in the game,” Ryan said. “He just didn’t give up. His last three innings were pretty good. The defense helping him throughout, put him in a bit of a groove.”

McRae got some help from the offense as well, with three runs coming in the fourth inning, giving the Marauders a lead they wouldn’t give up. Jerrick Suiter led off the inning with a single, one of his four hits on the night. Connor Joe drew a one out walk, followed by a triple from Elvis Escobar, which brought in two runs. Escobar scored on a sac fly by Tomas Morales.

The Marauders added another run in the sixth inning when Connor Joe put the first pitch he saw into the left field bullpen, hitting his first homer of the year. Joe has moved down to the bottom of the order recently, batting sixth tonight, and his bat has woken up. Prior to tonight, he had a .762 OPS since moving down in the order. That will go up after his 1-for-3 with a walk and a homer tonight.

Speaking of good defense, Pablo Reyes was playing shortstop tonight, and made a nice play in the ninth inning. The first batter of the inning hit a hard grounder up the middle, which was more of a slow liner which one hopped into the outfield grass. Reyes ranged to the edge of the grass, caught the ball after the one hop, and made a perfect throw to first. It was a strong play, requiring a lot of range and good agility to make the play. He not only made it, but he made it look easy. Reyes has good skills and the range to play shortstop, although sometimes that leads to him being a bit too wild. The lack of consistency is why he hasn’t been viewed as a regular shortstop and more of a second baseman in the past. – Tim Williams

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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West Virginia has off today

  • I am waiting….

    Had that been Polanco or Marte the comments would be screaming for them to be pulled – benched – lectured to – flogged – tarred and feathered….

    • You know, if Cutch was still positioning himself out in Blawnox that would’ve been a regular old single in front of him. 😉

    • and it is absolutely ridiculous to expect an experienced major league outfielder to catch a hard hit line drive that knuckleballs on him and lands is glove to keep it there – HEADS WILL ROLL!!!!

  • With the season 1/6 the of the way over we wake up to the Bucs one game out of the wild card – guess who has the second wild card at this point?

    Things can and will change more than once from now to the end of the year – but unless the Pirates find a way to shore up a really awful rotation things are more likely to get worse than better since the competition is better over the next 6yh of a season than it was over the first.

    Tailon COULD help. If you bring him up now you can dump Niese and try and stay competitive. If he does well over the balance of this year and next then try and extend him.

    Given his injury history the Super Two problem is not a sure thing…

    • If we assume he gets injured again, Super 2 wont be an issue. Winning will be, since he’s a large chunk of our expected rotation going forward.

      But operating with that assumption would be foolish. Us being in the WC race with Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano playing like crap is a good thing. Back end of the rotation is far from our biggest worries if Cole and Liriano can be TOR type arms.

      • I have more confidence in Liriano getting into form than Cole. Monday night was not an exception – it is consistent with how he has pitched since September of last year. If you bring Tailon up now you get 6 – maybe 7 starts before the Super Two date. That should be at least +2 in wins over starting Niese – maybe +4 and 7 plus innings less for the bullpen to cover. Could be the difference in competing for the WC in September or not…

        • Yeah, Taillon is a 4-5 WAR pitcher in 2/3rds of a year.

          But really not.

          • That is not said or implied – he will – I believe do a better job keeping the game close giving the pirates a chance to win at least 2 more of those 7 starts than Voglesong or Niese will. You really need to chill and quit being such a turd

            • You really need to realize im chill and your argument isnt based on facts.

    • Bruce today is 5/4/2016, there is lots of baseball to be played.

  • I’ll hand it to you NMR….It appears you nailed it with Niese, he is worse than Locke. Looks like he will not be retained beyond this season…..

    • Should be fairly clear to folks now why. I’m no genius, by any means, but my contention was always simply that Niese had literally zero in common with any of the other successful Pirate reclamations. He’s just so, so hittable.

      Couldn’t tell you why, but it’s obviously more than adjusting pitch usage or tweaking mechanics. I say it somewhat jokingly, but I honestly don’t know what you do with a guy who just doesn’t have good enough pitches to beat Major League batters.

      • Agreed. Nicasio always made much more sense in that regard.

      • But, but, but I thought Searage was the God of Pitching and could fix anyone – that he had some magic powders that worked miracles 🙂

        • Remember the “secret” adjustments they were supposedly making to Vogelsong?

          My goodness. What a load.

          As a silver lining, this should serve as a humbling reminder to Pirate Management that they cannot literally pull any warm body off the street and expect Searage to work magic.

          They have never had an actual plan on how to make these two better, because the talent simply is not there at this stage of their respective careers.

  • Should’ve held Jon Niese down past Super2; he clearly has stuff to work on.

    Namely, better pitches.

  • Enjoy Garcia throwing out runners while it lasts. The league is learning not to run on him. Last week, Norfolk held up a handful of guys in situations where taking an extra base is expected. Sure wish his bat matched his arm.

    • That is a good thing. When coaches hesitate to run on a guy that is comparable to him throwing them out.

  • Regarding the depth article, why does Max Moroff get the short-term for Left Field and Willy Garcia for Right? Could you elaborate a little bit on the distinction of why one of them wouldn’t get both please. I’m aware of the arm/power of Willy and the versatility of Max, but for example, why does one get right and the other left.

    • It was Frazier and Garcia. I went with Frazier for left because he’s got more range, and the arm strength isn’t as big of a requirement, plus his bat might be closer to being ready. Garcia makes up for his strikeouts with good defense in right, including ridiculous arm strength.

  • I generally like Tim’s articles, but he is drinking too much of management’s Kool Aid on the promotion issue. To say holding back Taillon (and perhaps Glasnow) is anything besides Super Two is disingenuous and an insult to the readers. Does he really think other team’s pitching prospects are more polished than Taillon when they are promoted? We know he doesnt need to be “streched” any longer, as he went 7 innings tonight, how many games this year have Pirate starters gone 7 innings? He certainly isnt being “blocked” by Locke or Niese. Last yr, the Cubs promoted Bryant in late April. The Mets promoted Syndergaard in May, and he was two yrs younger than Taillon is now. I can give many more examples. We have seen the past 3 years how hard is to dig out of an early hole when trying to catch first place. It should be very clear to NH that they have almost zero chance of winning the division with the current roation and bullpen. If the time to win is now, not two years from now, there needs to be a sense of urgency. This is the time to show the fans that they will put winning before payroll, and promote Taillon tomorrow before this season slips away.

    • John Dreker
      May 3, 2016 11:40 pm

      The last time Tim wrote about Taillon, he mentioned that Taillon is ahead of Glasnow, his return hasn’t been difficult and he’s off to a great start. Nothing about his stuff not being ready. I think you’re confusing what the players need to work on with whether they are ready or not.

      The super two status has been mentioned here numerous times, but to think that Taillon, Glasnow and Bell were ready to come up and dominate on Opening Day this year is wrong. That is especially true with Taillon, who had nothing to go on for the last two years, so looking at anything he has done this season is 100% hindsight. You can’t expect someone to miss most of two years and be better than he was.

      Taillon will likely be the first one up and he will not be a polished MLB pitcher when he comes up, he will just be closer to that point. Very rarely do players come up and put up their best stats right away. Glasnow and Bell still have two big issues to work on. That doesn’t mean they won’t come up in June though, there is a difference between being ready and it being a good time to call someone up.

      • At no point did I say that those 3 (I did not even mention Bell) should be on opening day roster and dominating. This isnt opening day, this is May and were 5 games behind the Cubs, and Tailon has had a month of dominating AAA. He has proven that he is not rusty from his injuries, and as Tim has mentioned may times, he used those yrs constructively despite not pitching. Tim also mentioned on his post today that the Pirates dont seem to be limiting Taillon’s pitch count, so the whole 90 pitch limit seems to be moot. Lastly, your last comment about “being ready” vs “a good time to call someone up”, as well as Tim’s comments about how he will be called up next month, proves my point – he is being held back for one reason and one reason only – Super 2.

    • As John noted, everything I’ve said on Taillon says that his stuff is ready, and he should be up before Glasnow. Last year I said he was close to the majors before he went down with a hernia injury.

      As for your examples, how many examples can you give of a guy who went two seasons without pitching in an official game, and only had one month against upper level hitters before getting called up? Taillon isn’t a typical prospect, and they shouldn’t handle him in a typical way.

      You mention innings, but right now the pitches are more important. He has been limited to 90 pitches, and hasn’t gone above 89 in a start yet. He’s done well to pitch so many innings on this limit, but it hasn’t been the story the entire year. A few starts ago, he was pulled after 4.1 innings right when he threw pitch number 89.

      So what happens if he doesn’t average 15 pitches or less an inning when he first comes up? Then you’re not getting seven innings. You’re getting five innings, and blowing up the bullpen.

      Gerrit Cole came up two years ago after a 100+ pitch limit in Triple-A, which carried over to the majors. You mention Syndergaard, and he was free to throw 100+ pitches before and right when he arrived. Taillon isn’t there yet. He’s on a strict pitch count, and you can’t really have that in the majors. The jump from Triple-A to the majors isn’t an easy one. Taillon won’t dominate MLB hitters like he’s doing right now with Triple-A guys. You hope he does, but you expect that he won’t. As a result, calling him up with such a strict limitation right now is a bad move.

      Anyone who has read my articles on Taillon over the years would know that no one wants to see him in the majors more than me (except maybe himself, and his family). It’s hard for me to write “he’s not ready”, when I’d love nothing more than to get a press release saying he’s coming up, followed by me purchasing a plane ticket and a hotel room to wherever he will be starting.

      There’s no Kool Aid here (By the way, that term/accusation makes me lose respect for anyone’s argument). I’m just treating Taillon like the special case that he is, due to his circumstances. You comparing him to Bryant and Syndergaard shows that you’re treating him like any other prospect who hasn’t dealt with injuries and isn’t facing restrictions, and that’s totally wrong.

      Let him get built up to the point where he doesn’t have restrictions. If he’s not called up then, and Super Two hasn’t passed, then you can say the only reason he’s being held down is due to Super Two.

      • If some of our starters can only go 5 innings anyway what is the difference? I would rather take the chance on Taillon in those 5 innings than Locke or even Niese at this point. Locke and Niese have combined for 9 starts and have gone more than 6.0 innings once. If you gave Taillon 9 starts in the MLB right now. I would bet heavily he matches or exceeds that, as well as posts a better line. I would also wager a bet if he has 4 more starts just like this (even if it is a line like this but with more Ks) but it isn’t past the Super-2 cutoff yet he still will be in Indianapolis. I defend the Pirates decisions 95% of the time. I am not saying he is “ready” but he would almost certainly be an upgrade from Niese and/or Locke.

        I write this with the disclaimer that Jeff Locke has actually pitched like an acceptable number 5 pitcher, his Milwaukee start being the only really poor performance.

  • Taillon had another very efficient outing – 7 shutout innings, 2 hits, but not with a high number of K’s. Less than 90 piitches.

    David Whitehead had a 4/3 GO/FO and that was the best part of his game tonight as the other team was using him as BP.

    The Joe has gone yard

    Nobody liked the Bucs against Arrieta tonight, but that’s why we play the game? No, that cannot be the right stupidphrase for application to this hosing. Hopefully the gate was substantial. Do the Pirates have a hole in their offense called “trouble with the curve”?

  • I am glad that we are so conditioned for perfection that we can nit-pick Taillon on a day where he allows two hits when our #3 pitcher pitches like crap……again. At this point to say Taillon isn’t ready, is like saying Neise and Locke (amongst others) should be sent to AAA

    • I said it to MLB Network’s Jonathan Mayo in the Pittsburgh airport last May and I’ll say it again: when the leaves turn brown, we’ll be there. Even Mayo didn’t know what I was talking about, but longtime Pirate fans do.

    • Taillon’s not ready yet. Three men reached base on him. He sucks.

    • I agree he seems close to ready to come up and continue his development at the ML level at this point. But we have to keep in mind there is a big difference between AAA and ML hitters, so I wouldn’t expect 7 innings of 2 hit ball if he gets called up. There will be an adjustment period. But, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it as soon as they pass the Super Two threshold.

      • I think Taillon would out pitch Neise and Locke in AAA right now, so it would seem he can outpitch them in ML as well.

        • Hmm, seems to be an emotional reaction. Not sure how you can gauge what Niese or Locke would do in AAA. But, again, not trying to argue this because I want to see Taillon up, and Locke frustrates me to no end. I just don’t know if JT will provide an immediate upgrade, might take a month or two.

          • It’s not emotional as I truly have no emotions at all regarding the subject. Just stating a very real opinion that unfortunately will always just be theoretical. If you think that a 6 ERA as a major league starter is better than a 2 ERA in AAA, I can’t argue with that factually, just state that I think you are wrong.

          • I really don’t think Taillon would have an ERA over 5 right now in the majors…..I don’t think his downside is that low. If he came up with a 4.25 FIP i wouldn’t be surprised, but that’s better than Neise and Locke over a full season

      • Noone is expecting him to carry that over. I’ve been watching and playing baseball for almost 30 years…..7 innings 2 hits in AAA can easily be 6 innings and 2 or 3 runs in ML- I’d take that every game right now over what we have.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    May 3, 2016 8:11 pm

    I wish Taillon was starting against the Cubs tonight, instead of Niese…I assume Niese is out of options and we can’t send him down? With the money he is making, the Pirates won’t cut him – even if he has a 6.00+ ERA come June 1. I wasn’t happy with the return for Neil Walker when the trade was made, but a number of the “experts” on this Board kept saying over and over again that Niese was decent starting pitcher and could be a solid #3. Now, we’re stuck with him – he’s kind of like a left handed Charles Morton – another terrible starting pitcher who was often defended by some as being something better than that.
    The only good thing that may come out of this series is that the Pirates FO may finally realize how far they have to go to contend with the Cubs – and will start making the obvious moves to move in that direction. Get Taillon and Glasnow up ASAP!
    Now, to date, SeanRod is making me look stupid, as he’s been hitting like he is ARod in his prime! 🙂 But, I don’t think this will continue for more than a few weeks, much less the entire season. Jaso is cooling off fast…maybe we need to consider bringing up Bell to platoon with him?

    • Joshuatree
      May 3, 2016 9:11 pm

      I was agreeing on your thoughts even though they won’t happen till the super two deadline but then you started on Jaso AFTER 2 GAMES!!!! Chill out bro! You’re getting carried away too fast!

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        May 3, 2016 9:31 pm

        Maybe, but Jaso doesn’t have a strong or long track record beyond being a part-time, platoon type player….did you really expect him to hit .330? By the end of the season, I suspect he will be in the .260 to .280 range – not bad, but that is much more likely scenario. To compete with the Cubs, we need real difference makers – Jaso isn’t that. We need Bell to become that guy – soon!

        • I don’t expect any Pirate to hit .330. But Bell is blocked by the Jaso/Freese platoon, once Kang comes back. Then there’s Jason Rogers.

        • John Jaso has a long track record of being a good hitter.

          One needs to look beyond batting average to get why he’s a solid option.

          To compete with the Cubs, we would need to spend about 30 more million and hope things break the right way.

          • The Bucco’s are a little over 100m. I think the Cubs are around 160M, and thats with 4-5 starters making minimum. The Cubs pitching was good last year and will be even better this year. Right now, that’s where all their payroll is.

          • Spending has nothing to do with it. Arrieta is their best player what is he making $?

            • Yes, just go find the next Walter Johnson. Its simple.

              Go ahead and name who is going to do that and i’ll let NH know.

        • BuccosFanStuckinMD, we all agree with your sentiment, but, bringing up players from AAA before they are ready is not the answer. We just have to hope that the Pirates can stay within reasonable distance from the Cubs, and get help come sometime in June from Indy. That help must come in the form of starting pitching. While I fully realize that the season is still very young, I for one have seen enough in the first five weeks to conclude this team does not have the starting pitching to contend.

    • I sincerely hope no one, particularly those that write on this site, takes the time out of what otherwise could be spent providing more great information and content to respond to what possibly could be the most ignorant, factually incorrect, mouth-breathing, whining statement from a poster I’ve seen in quite some time.

      Apparently, the OP doesn’t realize the value in ‘league-average-starting-pitcher’ and what *those* actually go for on the open market in MLB. Further, apparently, the OP doesn’t understand Super 2 nor it’s implications for highly touted pitching prospects and their salaries in out-years. Apparently, because Jaso hasn’t homered in a game since Sunday, the latter is ‘cooling off’ and needs replaced; pay no attention to wOBA and overall production that he’s providing – that’s *over* now. And, again, apparently the OP doesn’t realize that Josh Bell is also a prospect, also effected by Super 2 guidelines, would not be brought in as a platoon mate (especially as a RHB and the small # of ABs that would create), and is still working on his defense at AAA.

      Apparently, the OP knows nothing other than what some clown on local PGH radio knows when he’s had a few pops, reads a Ron Cook article, and buys a McCutchen jersey and stares in disbelief when he realizes that he’s been spelling Cutch’s name wrong his entire 16 years of life.

      Fire Nutting. Sale the team. Bring up all the prospects.

      • Yes you do realize Jon niese isn’t a league average starting pitcher and sucks though. Lol the guy has a fip near 6.

        • BuccosFanStuckinMD
          May 3, 2016 9:43 pm

          He obviously doesn’t like to hear the obvious….

        • Considering that you’re making statements based on 5 starts rather than the better part of the last 5 years, I’m fairly certain that you don’t even know what FIP means. Or, if you do, you haven’t realized how to use it yet nor when not to use it. Here’s a hint: A 5 game sample is one of those time when not to use it.

          • 2016 FIP 5.79…..xFIP….4.30
            Homeruns have hurt him quite a bit. Career FIP 3.89.…..career xFIP 3.76. I’d look for things to even themselves out sooner than later.

          • Yeah smart ass I don’t know what fip is. Let’s talk how every one of his pitches ranks below average this year and ranked below average last year per pitch fx. See a trend here? Or about how he has is probably worth half a win below replacement after tonight’s start. And then you tell me how we couldn’t have spent the 11m we allocated to him and Vogelsong more wisely.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        May 3, 2016 9:42 pm

        That was, without a doubt, the most pathetic attempt to marginalize someone else’s opinions. So, you still think Niese was a good return for Walker and should remain in the starting rotation, when we have two VERY strong starting pitching prospects waiting for their chance? Yes, lets wait until June (or later) – maybe we will still be within 10 games of the Cubs by then.
        BTW, I was referring to the obvious fact that Jaso is not (and will not) hit at his early .330-340 clip all season – and has now dropped to the .280-.290. I’m sorry that that simple truth offended you. Get a grip. Jaso is a platoon player, at best. He’s not our future at first base beyond this year (if that) – if the Pirates think otherwise, they (and you) have delusions of grandeur.
        Unless the prospects like Taillon, Glasnow, and Bell can come up soon and upgrade this roster, the Pirates have near zero chance of beating out the Cubs – barring Arietta blowing out his arm or Rizzo or Bryant falling down a flight of stairs. Our starting rotation is sub par, bullpen is a train wreck, and defense is just marginally better than last year (which was not very good).

        • As good as he has played I’m not sure how much trade value nw had. But why the hell invest 9m in niese. If you don’t want to pay nw 9-10 m spend it on something besides Jon niese. Look in really Fing stupid right now.

        • Niese with his extra years of control vs. walker’s 1 year and Niese’s previous value made it look good on paper. Unfortunately so far it isn’t working out, but Neise has never been this bad, so he will probably get better and hopefully quite quickly. Jaso is fine and isn’t going anywhere, and I think you’ll probably see Taillon around June 1st if he keeps pitching how he is. The only issue is: Locke or Neise? who goes to the pen.

          • Why did the Pirates settle for Neise when the Mets have a lot better Pitchers then him. I know, your going to tell me Walker can walk after this year, he’s bad defense, ect,ect. He was in the top 10 2nd in Baseball before all the rookies came up. With positioning in Baseball, he made all the plays he had to. His range was not very good, hence the positioning. The Mets got Walker even up and an upgrade on DEFENSE for the worst pitcher on their 25 man roster. And the price was the same.

            • Because that’s all you are getting for a player with 1 year of control remaining. Next question.

              • Not. Even. Close.

                The Angeles got Andrew Heaney for 31 yo Howie Kendrick in his walk year just one offseason before the Walker trade.

                The Pirates could’ve gotten a Top 100 prospect for Walker, at least. And that’s absolutely more valuable than Jon Niese.

                • Could they? Alright……not to be an ass NMR because quite honestly I love debating with you, but please tell me whom was lining up to give us that top 100 prospect for Neil Walker?

                  • That’s a cop-out of an argument, clearly none of us know the conversations going on behind the scenes.

                    I’ll say this, six contending teams not named the Pirates or Mets changed starting second basemen over the winter (Yankees, Angels, White Sox, Nats, Dodgers, Snakes). You can’t get much more of a market than that.and players of Neal Walker’s value, warts and all, have pulled Top 100 prospects in the past. Hell, 90% of the Braves rebuild has consisted of fleecing the idiots currently running the Diamondbacks.

                    At some point, negotiation becomes a skill. We all thought Pedro would be accepting league min or a minor league deal, until Boras got Baltimore to match his 2015 salary. Huntington had a market and an asset, it was up to him to maximize the return. He clearly did not.

                    • I’ll accept that. I was already set to argue with you, but you make a good point. Negotiation for trades isn’t something we seem to have done fantastic with even if you take out this trade. That being said I thought Niese was a fair value for Walker when the trade was done, clearly it isn’t working out well, but its a strawman argument to think we should have gotten more if you ask me based off the history of both players and the value in years of control .

                    • I think you inadvertently hit on the reason I believe Huntington’s failed trades have happened.

                      Yeah, *historically* Niese was roughly equivalent to Walker’s value, but the most recent version most certainly wasn’t. And that can’t be agued. Niese was bad last year, and he looked physically different than the *historical* version. Nothing fluky about it. Huntington traded current value for past value, with the hope that it would return. This is awful negotiating.

                      Looking back on a few of the less than positive trades of his, this can be seen as a theme. Andy LaRoche, Bryan Morris, and the slew of former top prospects were all down relative to their peak value at the time they were acquired. I don’t think that’s coincidence at this point. He needs better scouts.

                    • well i don’t know its awful negotiating- it’s more like awful evaluation of talent

                    • Bryan Morris was? hmmm, i don’t remember that. But from an overall perspective, you make some valid points. I’m not sure what the “hit” rate is on trades, so it’s hard for me to judge the overall grade so to speak.

        • Considering that you’re simply using Batting Average as the best indicator to rate a player – to say nothing of you making declarative statements based on 25 games – I presume we’ll speak past each other in our argument.

          In short, I’d spend less time writing and more time learning. You sound like a fool, an adolescent, or both. In any event, call local PGH sports radio, it seems your kind would be welcomed.

      • He actually posts regularly, far more regularly than you, so maybe you shouldn’t go all out as a newbie shining your Godly light on his post to show its inferiority. I argue with him all the time, but geez dude, he is entitled to his opinion and your opinion on his opinions really isn’t more valuable. You are taking his tongue-in-cheek statements way too literally and need to calm down.

        • I’d say this debate lands somewhere in the middle. AS was too harsh, but I can second the frustration regarding posters that continually ignore Super Two reasoning in their incessant “Bring up TGJT” posts, or the multitude of articles posted on this site that explain why they are not ready. Further, suggesting that Bell platoon as the RH with Jaso is fairly absurd, in my no-more-than-equal-value opinion.

        • Thank you.

      • I really hate the waving of the Super Two flag as somehow justifying bad decisions. The Pirates TODAY face a real dilemma. Do we continue to try and stay competitive by trotting out a very flawed rotation – and is not just flawed in the backend. Locke and Nicosio are arguably the two best starters they have at this point. OR do you try and shore up things a bit by bring up Tailon and dropping Neise from the rotation. The facts are…
        1. If you bring up JT now you get about 7 starts from him before the super two safe call up date.
        2. You have the same number of years of control regardless of whether you bring him up now or later.
        3. You do trade a year of league minimum contract for a year of arbitration.
        4. The arbitration contracts will be based on – in part – performance. If JT is a stud his final year might cost you $15M or more BUT he is a stud – and would likely have HUGE trade value in his last two years of arbitration.
        5. Shit happens – he could blow out his elbow two years from now and you would have lost the impact he could have had THIS year regardless.
        6. You can try and extend him after next season if does well this year and next – yes the extension might be a bit more expensive because he know he is Super Two eligible – but if he is a 3+ WAR pitcher it might make sense.

        The logic of Super Two is not as simple as some think it is.

        The downside risk to the Bucs is that if they stay with Neise and they are 8 games out of the WC race in September there will be a LOT of empty seats at PNC.

      • You and those like you are the reason I will not be renewing when my three year subscription that I bought on day one expires. BTW – are you a three year sub and when did you join the site?

        • You notice that literally the only time that kid posts is to defend the front office? Never any content or thoughts of his own.

          You drive me crazy, Bruce, but please stick around. I hate when forums like these because an echo chamber of the same guys patting each other on the back.

    • I refuse to say anything good about SRod because i’m afraid it will jinx him. I feel like he’s a worthless piece of crap and continuing to say that seems to be working so far, so i’ll continue as to not upset the Gods

    • I don’t think anyone ever said he could be a solid #3, most said he could be a solid #4 (including me) and he can, but he isn’t right now for sure.

    • I sure wouldn’t platoon Bell and jaso considering Bell’s strong side is the same as Jasos. If you’re bringing up Bell he plays everyday. But no need to rush him when you have a more than adequate player there now! Jaso is exactly what they want him to be. High obp and doing a good job at first base. I will say Neise is starting to frustrate me by I’m trying to remain patient with him.

      • Yeah, for sure. It also wouldn’t hurt to let Bell have more experience playing the position. No reason to start the clock early. Considering how their offense is doing, it’s not like they’re missing his bat (the last two games aside).

      • I’m just glad I chose to mow the lawn after dinner yesterday. Didn’t see a single pitch of the game.

    • I think what the pirates saw with Niese was the career numbers, the potential for the option years and the GB rate and thought he’d be a perfect fit. What they saw with Walker was an aging and injury prone 2nd baseman with 1 year left who was plus offensively minus defensively and replaceable.

      • Basically I see what they saw but I feel like the jurys still out on wether the trade was a bang or a bust.

      • The mistake was not having any physical reason to believe those career numbers would return.

        Honestly, the next person to give a concrete, solid reason *anyone* should’ve been optimistic about Jon Niese will be the first. He was physically worse last year than when he was successful, and looks no different this year. He’s bad.

        • He DID have that key pinch-hit single against Arizona, so that’s something. Okay, I’ll stop.

        • Fastball, Fastball…..that is why Niese has hit the wall. After the trade a couple of commentators mention his FB as lots a lot and whenever that happens the pitcher usually go down hill.

    • SeanRod isn’t the only one making you look stupid

    • You were not alone on SRod – the two years of -0.2 WAR and 30% K rate were real – and should have affected his contract. We are being told he has made real significant adjustments to his swing and approach – and these seem to be working – at least short term. But BABIP can vary a lot – see Chris Colabello. SRod is at .435 – that is not sustainable. The good news is what we both thought was a bad contract is actually going to be a nice value – we ended up wrong – but we were not stupid.

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