By Jason Shetler
On Thursday, Baseball America put out a list containing players with the best tools from each league in the minors. The categories were based on a survey asked to scouts and managers of their respective leagues. Pirates prospect Taylor Hearn was given recognition for best fastball in the Florida State League.
The Pirates originally drafted Hearn as a 22nd round selection in 2012, but did not sign. He joined the Washington Nationals organization in 2015, this after being chosen in the fifth round. Two days prior to last year’s trade deadline, the Pirates acquired Hearn and Felipe Rivero from the Nationals in the Mark Melancon deal.
Hearn began this season at High A with the Bradenton Marauders. The 12th ranked Pirates prospect has posted a 4.12 ERA, but his FIP and xFIP are much better at 3.40 and 2.83 respectively. He also has 106 strikeouts in 87.1 innings pitched (10.9 K/9). Hearn was placed on the disabled list in mid-July with a strained right oblique, and is likely done for the season.
The fastball for Hearn is very intriguing, as he throws it in the mid-upper 90’s, with the ability to touch 100 mph. His slider has the makings of an above average pitch and his changeup is a work in progress. Hearn is currently a starting pitcher, but the command, as well as the development of his changeup, will dictate whether or not he remains a starter at the upper levels.