The Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Friday afternoon that right-handed pitcher Jacob Taylor has retired.
He was the fourth round pick in the 2015 draft and was seen as a pick with a lot of potential at the time. Just two innings into his first season, Taylor needed Tommy John surgery. He returned late in the 2016 season for 11 innings. The results were poor, but it was mostly about getting him back on the mound.
In 2017, Taylor was starting for Bristol and not only were the results poor, he wasn’t showing the same mid-90s velocity that made his such an intriguing prospect. He was dipping into the high-80s at times. He also missed time due to an ankle injury prior to the start of the Bristol season.
Taylor was in the bullpen for West Virginia this year until being placed on the disabled list two weeks ago. He was signed to an over-slot deal, receiving a $500,000 bonus because he could hit 97 MPH and had plenty of draft eligibility left coming out of a junior college. His velocity returned briefly after the Tommy John surgery, but hasn’t been there since the start of the 2017 season.
Also from Pirate City, there is news that Kevin Mahala is no longer with the organization. He asked for his release recently because he was stuck down in Extended Spring Training, after spending the 2017 season with West Virginia. The 23-year-old was an 18th round draft pick in 2016. It’s unclear if he retired or was granted his release. Retired players (including Taylor and about five other players since March) have their rights retained by the Pirates if they decide to return to baseball.