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The Many (Hideous) Faces of Jameson Taillon

Jameson Taillon: Pirates’ pitching prospect; looks as though he’s always trying to pass a long overdue bowl movement.

Don’t believe me? Well, see for yourself:

It began in high school…

A night after eating his weight at P.F. Chang’s…

Fighting a pre-pitch eruption…

About to give birth…

To twins…

Prior to a DL stint for torn UCL, asshole…

A face so hideous it had to be captured on a baseball card…

Top 50 Prospects: #5 – Gerrit Cole

#5 Gerrit Cole

Pittsburgh Pirates

DOB: 9/8/1990

Previous Rank: N/A

ETA: 2013

Cole was the first guy off the board in 2011, and it is pretty tough to make a strong case against that pick (except for the $8 million price tag).  We did not view him as the top guy available, but no one could blame Pittsburgh for viewing him as just that either.

Cole has reached well beyond the 100 mph plateau, and his changeup was the best changeup of any draft class in recent memory.  He also features a knockout slider that routinely gets 60 grades.  He has a terrific arsenal of pitches and has average or better command as well. His mechanics are hit and miss, though, which is why we liked several guys a little more than Cole going into the draft.  With someone of his caliber, it’s really just nitpicking.  Gerrit Cole has a chance to be the best pitcher in baseball and immediately ascended to the top of the Pirates’ rankings ahead of noteworthy players like Jameson Taillon and Starling Marte.

Cole looked a little sloppy in the AFL, but he still was able to make five starts and record 15 innings of professional baseball.  Let me just take this time to mention how terrific we at The Sombrero think the AFL is, especially for those guys like Cole and Hultzen who signed late and are looking to snag their first few starts of professional baseball before winter shut-downs.  Anyway, Gerrit Cole is absolutely a stallion and he should debut early in 2013.

Top 50 Prospects: #12 – Jameson Taillon

#12 Jameson Taillon

Pittsburgh Pirates

DOB: 11/18/1991

Previous Rank: 14

ETA: 2014

The Pirates insist on babying Taillon, who some thought actually was the top player available in the 2010 draft even ahead of Bryce Harper.  Regardless of who was better, what is certain is that Taillon was the best pitching prospect in his class, so some restraint is probably highly prudent and highly warranted.

His fastball and breaking ball are both at least 60-grades every night and can reach 70s.  His breaking ball is arguably the best pitch from any of the last five drafts, and his fastball can reach the upper-90s with good plane and arm-side activity.  His command can stand to improve, but it already has substantially since he signed.

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff W L ERA G GS IP BB SO HBP
2011 19 West Virginia SALL A PIT 2 3 3.98 23 23 92.2 22 97 9
1 Season 2 3 3.98 23 23 92.2 22 97 9
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/12/2012.
Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff W L ERA G GS IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2011 19 West Virginia SALL A PIT 2 3 3.98 23 23 92.2 1.198 8.6 0.9 2.1 9.4 4.41
1 Season 2 3 3.98 23 23 92.2 1.198 8.6 0.9 2.1 9.4 4.41
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/12/2012.

Even though he never made it past the fifth inning of any start, he still was able to post a sub-4.00 ERA with 97 strikeouts and 22 walks in 92.0 innings.  Look for that count to jump up to the 125 IP area in 2012 and for Taillon to dominate Double-A hitters like he did Sally League hitters.  Taillon is so advanced in terms of stuff that he should never be challenged while in the Minors by anyone or anything except his own standards and the standards of his organization, which is quickly on the rise.


Top 50 Prospects: #24 – Josh Bell

#24 Josh Bell

Pittsburgh Pirates

DOB: 8/14/1992

Previous Rank: N/A

ETA: 2014

How is it that no one in the first round went after this guy?  It’s no secret for readers of The Sombrero that we were all in on Bell for whatever the cost.  It must have killed the Red Sox and any other team without a budget to see Pittsburgh get this kid signed.

Without a doubt Bell was the premier prep bat in the 2011 draft class, and the assumption was that Bell was unsignable regardless of the size of the bonus.  Wrong.  The Pirates got it done for $5 million, and as we learned last week what dramatic effects the new CBA will bring to the draft, that number is looking pretty damn tame.  Bell likely would be one of the first guys off of the board if not the first in three years, and the slot recommendation for the top pick is around $7.5 million and likely climbing.

Bell is a 60 hitter from both sides with a 60 future power grading.  His defense in the outfield is better than people gave him credit for prior to the draft, and it should improve as he matures to the point that he is at least average in left if not a 55.  We expect the Pirates to start Bell out in Easy A and to be patient with him, but bats like his are rare.  Look for the Bucs to push Bell through as fast as they can to ensure that he reaches PNC before Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen begin to decline and as Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole are reaching their primes.

The Pirates system is not making quite as much noise as Washington’s due in large part to the fact that Bryce Harper is in the latter, but they are just about as stellar at the top and might even be deeper.  Bell is without a doubt the top bat in the Pirates organization and could challenge for a top 10 ranking in 2012.

Top 50 Prospects: #32 – Starling Marte


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