The Pittsburgh Pirates lost to the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 on Friday afternoon in Spring Training action but the Pirates got to take a trip into the future as ESPN’s Jayson Stark writes
Gerrit Cole started the game working the first and second innings, followed by Jameson Taillon who pitched the third and fourth inning.
Cole allowed three hits and two runs over two innings. He struck out two. Cole had some issues in the first inning but he recorded a 1-2-3 second inning, which included a pair of strikeouts.
The buzz afterwards was about how good Taillon looked after throwing two scoreless innings and allowing just one hit.
“Those two guys,” Clint Hurdle said smiling via Stark. “One (Cole) has gotten to the major leagues, and one (Taillon) is closing in on that opportunity. They have the skill sets, the mound presence, and all the things you need to have two stalwarts in your rotation.”
As Stark notes, the Pirates have a similar plan for Taillon this season that they had for Cole last season, a June or July callup. Taillon has become a pitching prospect that scouts have started to be a bit down on when it comes to his ceiling compared to the time when he was drafted as the second overall pick in the 2010 draft.
Among those being a bit down on Taillon includes Keith Law who had Tyler Glasnow rated as the Pirates top pitching prospect in his 2014 top-10 Pirates prospect rankings released in January. Law isn’t the only evaluator who feels that way.
Law has often been critical of Taillon in that hitters get a good look at the ball out of his hand. Taillon rated as Law’s 27th best prospect in baseball (nothing to be real concerned about) and has fallen in Laws rankings over the last two years. One complaint from Law is this:
“The problem is that hitters get a good look at the ball out of his hands, and say that his fastball is easier to hit than the velocity would indicate,” Law writes
. “He also has limited feel for his changeup, which comes in too hard and misses up to his arm side, possibly because he’s overthrowing it.”
That said, one scout attending yesterday’s game told Jayson Stark that he likes Taillon better than Cole.
Stark on Taillon: “He breezed through his two innings so easily (giving up only one check-swing infield single), he barely needed a shower. And afterward, one scout in attendance actually said: “I like him better than Cole. He’s legit.”