While Pirates Starters Begin to Get Rest, Jameson Taillon Prefers to Finish Strong

PITTSBURGH — It would be understandable, given what he’s gone through this season, if Jameson Taillon was ready to be done.

After a shocking cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgery cost him five weeks of the season and interrupted what had been a sparkling start to his second season in the majors, Taillon settled in for the long grind and had a reliable, if not spectacular rest of the 2017 season.

With the team’s fate fading around him, Taillon also suffered a reversal of fortunes in the month of August. In six starts, he had a 6.60 ERA and allowed an .896 OPS against.

In his first start in the month of September against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, Taillon seemed right back to his old self. He gave up three hits and no runs in six innings while striking out four.

It felt like a good capper on Taillon’s season, as the Pirates look to give some of their starters rest, and give some younger guys like Steven Brault and Tyler Glasnow a chance.

But Taillon is not done yet. He wants to go out and finish the season strong, and with the innings he already missed earlier in the season, the Pirates seem to be willing to let him do it.

“I do think there’s a benefit in him being able to finish with a little traction,” manager Clint Hurdle said.

Hurdle also added that he thought going through the rough stretch in August and getting it figured out could be a good lesson for Taillon to learn. He was the first of the current crop of young Pirates to come up last season, but it’s easy to forget that he’s still on his first full major-league season.

“Sometimes men, I do believe, have their opportunities for their greatest growth through adversity,” Hurdle said. “He’s had his fair share of it. I think Ray (Searage) and him were able to identify something in the delivery, which got him back on top of the ball the best we’ve seen in a while.”

Taillon was asked about fatigue at this point in the season and instead explained that he’s actually feeling stronger now than he was in the wake of his cancer treatments earlier this year. That’s what led to the necessity for adjustments with him and Searage.

“I’ve actually felt physically the best I have all year, so with that comes a little extra energy in my mechanics, which makes the ball flatten out,” Taillon said. “We’re kind of just involved in the basics, getting the ball out on time and creating and angle to the plate that makes it tough to pick up.”

With the emotional roller coaster of a year, from his own medical issues to the team’s disappointing finish, Taillon just wants to put himself in the best place possible for 2018. He thinks that involves a strong finish to this year.

“It’s big,” he said. “This is my first year going start to finish in the big leagues. I want to finish strong. I want to go out on a high note. Each start is an opportunity for me to learn something new about what I do and my craft. I want to put up some results and I want to keep improving so that next year, I can be even more confident … I want to finish strong. There’s 25, 30 games left. This is a really good opportunity to put my foot down and go into the offseason on a high note. I want to keep working, put in the work between my starts and finish strong”

  • Between off days and skipped starts for Nova, there should be plenty of opportunity for Glasnow to get a few starts. Don’t really care if Brault starts again.

  • Juan Nicasio traded for a good prospect?!? I am getting ready to heave!!!

    • I just wrote this on the Asylum:
      Eliezer Alvarez was BA’s #10 Card Prospect going into 2017.

      Some notes: He has an effortless line drive swing and rarely lunges at pitches. He is a smart baserunner. He tends to strikeout too much (28%) for someone who has such a good swing (btw, this continued in 2017).

      His forte is NOT fielding as he doesn’t seem to be an instinctive infielder. He would have to improve to be adequate.

      Bottom Line……..good hit, no field. Not unlike Frazier?

      @DTonPirates Phillies did pay Nicasio for a week and pay the waiver fee. Basically got a marginal prospect for $140K, which is a good deal for them

      Here is his pre-season writeup at El Birdo which we link on our page:
      He was #24 on their site, btw.


      • Of course, it is better than getting nothing. Maybe that’s what Giant fans feel about giving Kontos away to us for nothing (and we get George for 2 or 3 more years…..I fooget)

        • George Kontos has been worth 0.1 WAR over the last four seasons *combined*.

          Juan Nicasio was the 20th most valuable reliever in the game at the time of his trade.

          This false equivalence is laughable. Kontos is completely irrelevant to the Nicasio situation.

          • NH got snookered by a NL Central rival when they claimed him in August. I’m sure NH gambled he would clear waivers and would be free to trade him in August. He gambled and lost, but he didn’t lose anything of consequence.

          • WAR isn’t a good way to measure Kontos’s value, considering over those same four years, he’s posted an ERA in the low 3’s. He’s not a strikeout guy (though those are up this year, unfortunately along with home runs), but he’s been a really good contact manager for his career, and FIP doesn’t favor that. To wit, his RA9-WAR over those same four seasons is 3.2. (versus Nicasio’s 1.8, though RA9-WAR, and a four year sample are unkind measures for Nicasio).

            He’s still not as good as Nicasio, but he’s a good reliever, and he’s affordable for several years. Their trade value, even if it favors Nicasio, isn’t massively different, especially with respect to their value specifically to the Pirates, since relievers only have real value to contenders, and that the Pirates are not.

            • Funny thing about career “good contact managers” is that they never stay good contact managers, thus this season.

              • He’s actually been okay at run prevention this season. Not great, but a 3.65 ERA isn’t useless, either. It’s not the mid-2s of the last few seasons, but as down years go for middle relievers, I’d take it.

                • Sure! As an actual, fungible middle reliever he’s fine.

                  That just simply is not comparable to Nicasio.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        September 6, 2017 8:09 pm

        Fire NH, hire Phillies GM….

    • The only thing this says is what we already knew, that Nicasio absolutely had value at the non-waiver deadline.

      • Barely. He just got traded for a soon to be Rule 5 guy.

        • Four weeks, non-playoff eligible. And soon-to-be Rule 5 guys are the exact types you’ll see articles written this winter about how to use valuable prospects.

          Back that off to half a season of service eligible to play in the postseason and able to negotiate freely with any team, and it’s inconceivable that Nicasio didn’t have value. There’s literally one outlet who has even tried to argue otherwise. One.

    • Good? Pretty loose with your use of English language I see. 28% SO% and a below average fielder in AA doesn’t qualify as good in my book.

  • Taillon is going to be a really nice staple in this rotation for the next several years, and I’m very excited to see Glasnow’s next opportunity. It will give us a pretty good idea, I think, of what sort of rotation we can expect to have next season to see how much his adjustments this season have improved him as a pitcher. I’d love to see Nova either as our number 5 or as a trade piece to help fill other needs, and Glasnow figuring things out is key to that.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    September 6, 2017 2:39 pm

    From the department of “You Can’t Make this Stuff Up”….

    The Phillies announced that they have traded right-hander Juan Nicasio to the Cardinals in exchange for minor league infielder Eliezer Alvarez. Philadelphia had recently claimed Nicasio off outright waivers from the Pirates. Nicasio will give the Cardinals’ bullpen a boost, though since he’s been acquired after Aug. 31, he won’t be eligible for the postseason roster if St. Louis qualifies. Nicasio is a free agent after the season.

    So, we incredibly gave away Nicasio for nothing. The Phillies turn him around and get a prospect for him (which is greater than nothing, although I don’t know anything yet about the prospect – can’t imagine he’s a top prospect) from the Cardinals – our division rival.

    Yes, NH – you really did earn that 4 year extension – what a comedy act this is!

    • Before you talk about the nicasio situation, understand what is going on.

      When the Pirates put nicasio on waivers a team claimed him, for the purpose of blocking him, meaning the Pirates could not trade him to any other team.

      • >>>Alvarez was a top-20 prospect in the St. Louis system, and has received his first taste of Double-A action this season. During 54 games with Springfield, the infielder slashed .247/.321/.382 with four home runs, 26 RBI and eight stolen bases. Moving forward, the 22-year-old profiles as a second baseman and should be able to compete at the Triple-A level with Lehigh Valley next season.<<<

        The Pirates couldn't trade Nicasio, so he went to the Phillies saving them a few $. His innings will go to the young Bucs. The Phillies trade him to St. Louis for a decent prospect that will now leave the Pirate's division. Sounds like the Bucs made out OK here.

        • BA says that Alvarez would have to improve to be an adequate fielder.

        • Or that same prospect could be in the Pirates system now or as many of you like to comment the Card have a chance to show Nicasio what a great place St Louis is as well as put him in a playoff race and sign him in the future for a discount (ala Nova).

        • The nicasio situation was handled fine by the Pirates. It’s just a way for Pirates haters to bash the Pirates without doing any research and understanding the situation

          • BuccosFanStuckinMD
            September 6, 2017 8:08 pm

            You cannot be serious?? How did waiving Nicasio benefit the Pirates and what was the downside of just keeping him until the season ended?

          • Please explain to us so called Pirate haters what research I missed that would lead to dumping Nicasio for nothing was a good move. Please do not say all those inning for all those relief pitchers who are still not on the team as of yet.

      • Your right they could not trade him then but they could have traded him earlier and chose not to. The Pirates just got embarrassed and at least one national outlet has already stated just that. I think ole Neal and Clint got the big extension to protect them when the coming fire sale/rebuild happens this off season.

        • You have no idea what was offered for him in July. I trust NH made what he thought was best decision for Pirates at the time by holding on to him.

          If anything, you could fault him for not thinking a NL Central rival would claim him and blocking his ability to deal him in August. But even then it’s nothing more than a trivial matter in the big picture.

          • What I know is what I am reading and the prevailing thought is the Pirates look like fools and the Phillies got a lottery ticket (a term so often used on this site).

        • It’s obvious at this point that the Phillies claimed him for the sole purpose of trading him for whatever they could get. I hope NH has what it takes to just come right out and admit this was a big mistake and he realizes he looks pretty stupid, but I doubt he ever does.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        September 6, 2017 8:05 pm

        They were stupid to put him on irrevocable waivers to begin with – did they really think that no one would claim him?

        For a team that is technically still in the race, what kind of moronic message did waiving their second best reliever send to the team and the fans?

        You cannot defend or justify the waiving of Nicasio – it was just plain stupid and typical of the Pirates FO….the Phillies have to be giggling with glee….

    • Alvarez is a very solid prospect. More than a lottery ticket.

    • Smart move by the Phillies. Well done.

  • I hope the rest will help Nova regain his form next year. With a younger pitching staff in set for next year, I hope the Pirates consider doing what the Dodgers did this year to keep the arms fresh.

    • Would rather they see what they have with Kingham, Glasnow and Holmes and look to trade Nova over the off season. If Nova nets anything decent.

      • That is why I am higher on trading Cole, better return than Nova, and appears to be a better leader for the young guys….

        • If we can get good prospects or young major league pieces for Cole, Nova, Cutch etc we go young guns next year with potential to compete for a title over the next 4 years.

    • Hey PieRat – are you part of my friends from Altoona?

  • How can you not root for this guy?