By Jason Shetler
Before taking Gerrit Cole and Tyler Glasnow in the 2011 MLB Draft, the Pirates selected Jameson Taillon #2 overall in 2010 as their future ace starter. Despite being drafted out of high school, he seemed to be on a pretty fast track to the Majors, until he hit a huge speed bump. During Spring Training of 2014, Taillon experienced pain in his elbow, which unfortunately led to Tommy John surgery. He was expected to be called up to Pittsburgh that season. Taillon recovered from the procedure, and was looking to join the Pirates last year, but the injury bug bit him again, as he had surgery on his hernia.
Taillon is now pitching for AAA Indianapolis, the team that he last pitched for in 2013. The 24-year-old right-hander is off to a very strong start, posting an ERA of 1.19, which is currently second best in the International League. He also has a 0.76 WHIP, thanks in large part to allowing just three walks in 30.1 innings of work. I recently spoke with Ryan Palencer of Pirates Prospects, who regularly covers the Indianapolis Indians, and he told me that Taillon’s fastball has been 93-94 mph on average while his curveball is still sharp as it was prior to the surgeries. Even with missing two full seasons, Taillon has pitched incredible thus far, and could very well join the Pirates rotation much sooner rather than later.