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BP Top Prospects: Pittsburgh Pirates

Minors : : General
Jason Parks        
Published: Thursday, February 06, 2014

Listed below are the top 5 prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization as ranked by Jason Parks and Baseball Prospectus. To view the full feature, please visit this link.

Prospect rankings primer
Last year's Pirates list

The Top Ten

  1. RHP Jameson Taillon
  2. CF Gregory Polanco
  3. RHP Tyler Glasnow
  4. Reese McGuire
  5. RF Josh Bell
  6. RHP Nick Kingham
  7. OF Austin Meadows
  8. SS Alen Hanson
  9. RHP Luis Heredia
  10. LF Harold Ramirez


1. Jameson Taillon

Position: RHP
DOB: 11/18/1991
Height/Weight: 6’6” 235 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1
st round, 2010 draft, The Woodlands HS (The Woodlands, TX)
Previous Ranking: #2 (Org), #11 (Top 101)
2013 Stats: 3.89 ERA (37 IP, 31 H, 37 K, 16 BB) at Triple-A, 3.67 ERA (110.1 IP, 112 H, 106 K, 36 BB) at Double-A Altoona
The Tools: 7 FB; 6+ potential CB; 5+ potential CH

What Happened in 2013: Despite making 25 starts and logging close to 150 innings in the upper minors—missing close to a bat an inning as a 21-year-old—Taillon’s national prospect status took a bit of a step back and he lost some his shine. Go figure.

Strengths: Big, physical frame; built for workload; big arm strength; fastball is easy plus offering; shows plus-plus velocity; comfortable in the 94-97 range; heavy life to the arm side; bat breaker; curveball is plus; flashes well above-average potential; low 80s with sharp two-plane break; aggressive approach; frontline mentality.

Weaknesses: Questions about lengthy arm action; fastball command is below average; curveball plays down from paper grade because of command; changeup is below average at present; lacks impact projection; too firm and limited fading action at higher velocity.

Overall Future Potential: 7; no. 2 starter

Realistic Role: 6; no. 3 starter

Risk Factor/Injury History: Low risk; 28 starts in upper minors

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: The prospect fatigue in fantasy circles has certainly been in full swing, as Taillon has seen his perceived value drop over the past two seasons. Of course, we know better and the developmental process often leads to nice buy-low opportunities on players like this. Taillon should be a strong four-category contributor who will pitch in a great park for his raw stats. Just because he’s not an “ace” doesn’t mean he can’t be a top-20 fantasy starter.

The Year Ahead: Taillon was once considered a future frontline arm, a true number one in the making. Based on the scouting reports, the reality is a little less spectacular, but everything still points to a high quality major-league starter, one capable of logging 200 innings a year and making outs. With excellent size and strength, in combination with two well above-average offerings, Taillon should be considered one of the best arms in the minors. But his command profile is below average at present and limits the utility of the plus-plus pitches, and his changeup flashes only average potential, so the overall forecast has more clouds than once observed. However, Taillon’s command still has time to refine, and if he does step forward on that front, the Pirates might just have one of the most potent one-two rotation punches in baseball.

Major league ETA: 2014

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