Faced with the difficult decision of going with a potential cornerstone shortstop or a potential ace of their staff, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected right-handed pitcher Jameson Taillon (pronounced “TIE-own”) with the second overall pick in the annual First-Year Player Draft Monday night.
The Pirates who have been known to shy away from top talent in the first round due to sign-ability reasons, targeted the top two players on the board at No. 2 in Taillon and high school shortstop Manny Machado.
The consensus is that the Pirates could not have gone wrong with either player as Taillon and Machado were the top two talents in the draft behind Bryce Harper who was selected No. 1 overall by the Washington Nationals.
After the Pirates passed on Machado, the Baltimore Orioles selected the talented shortstop with the No.3 overall selection. The right-handed hitting Machado batted .639 with 12 home runs and 56 RBIs for Brito Private School in Hialeah, a Miami suburb, this spring. He had 55 hits in 86 at-bats. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder also scored 43 runs, stole 17 bases and hit 27 doubles and five triples.
In 11 games as a senior with The Woodlands (TX) High School this season, the 18-year-old Taillon went 8-1 with a 1.78 ERA. He also struck out 114 batters and walked 21 in his 62.0 innings of work during the season. In addition, Jameson whiffed 19 batters while tossing a no-hitter on March 23.
Taillon was rated by Baseball America as the best pitcher available in the draft and as the second-best overall player among the top 200 prospects in the country. In addition, he was rated by the same publication as having the “Best Fastball” and as being the “Closest to the Majors” among all high school pitchers.
“Jameson Taillon has a quality combination of present ability and future potential to become an above average Major League starting pitcher,” said Smith. “He is a big, hard-throwing righthander with impressive secondary pitches for a high school aged pitcher. He also has strong traits mentally, physically, fundamentally and personally and we are thrilled to select Jameson with our first round pick.”
The 6’6″, 230-pound Taillon made The Woodlands varsity team as a freshman and went on to post a 22-6 record and 282 strikeouts in 173.0 innings pitched during his high school career. He was the winning pitcher in the Gold Medal Game against Cuba for USA Baseball’s 18U National Team during the Pan American Junior Championship in Venezuela in 2009; he went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 28 strikeouts in two starts.
“We are very pleased with the outstanding work of our amateur scouting department under the leadership of Greg Smith,” added Senior Vice President, General Manager Neal Huntington. “Our selection this evening is the culmination of a tremendous amount of quality planning, preparation and execution. Jameson is the first of many potential quality additions to our organization from this year’s First Year Player Draft.”
Jameson Taillon Scouting Report
The Woodlands High School, Texas, Sr.
Height/Weight: 6’6″/230 lbs.
Physical Description: Taillon is an absolute beast, tall and lean with extra-long levers and a slim waist.
Fastball: Taillon threw his fastball in the 94-99 mph range with explosive movement.
Curve: It’s a plus pitch and he throws it 81-85 mph.
Slider: Also a plus, he throws it 84-88 mph.
Changeup: A solid pitch. He doesn’t always use it, but he knows it’s a pitch he’ll need at the next level.
Strengths: Three plus pitches with the changeup giving him the potential to have a four-pitch mix.
Remarks/Evaluation from Greg Smith, Pirates Director of Scouting: “Jameson Taillon has a quality combination of present ability and future potential to become an above average Major League starting pitcher. He is a big, hard-throwing righthander with impressive secondary pitches for a high school aged pitcher. He also has strong traits mentally, physically, fundamentally and personally and we are thrilled to select Jameson with our first-round pick.