Taillon has an easy evening on the mound

Jameson Taillon does not seem to be having much trouble transitioning to the Double-A level. He breezed through six innings last night, allowing just an infield single and facing only one batter over the minimum. He struck out seven and threw only 69 pitches.

This was my first chance seeing Taillon in person, as I spent most of the evening sitting behind the backstop in Altoona. His command was very good, as he pounded the zone with quality strikes all night. Of his 69 pitches, 48 went for strikes. He threw 10 pitches in the first, 11 in the second, 10 in the third, 10 in the fourth, 13 in the fifth and 15 in the sixth. He mostly worked ahead in the count, causing it to stick out the few times he fell behind on a hitter. It was simply an easy evening for the big right-hander, who never faced any type of trouble.

Taillon’s fastball mostly sat in the mid 90’s, with some pitches dropping into the low 90’s. He got plenty of swings-and-misses with the heater, with only a few hitters making solid contact. He commanded the pitch well, doing a particularly good job of keeping it down in the zone.

The curveball was on for Taillon tonight, as opposing hitters struggled with it all night. Three of his strikeouts came on swinging curves, with two others going down looking at the hook. I did not have the best angle from where I was sitting to pick up the break on the pitch, but it clearly fooled hitters throughout the evening. He commanded the curve well, very rarely missing his target.

I was very interested to get a look at Taillon’s developing changeup. He did not throw very many, so I only got a limited view of the pitch. The few changeups he threw were inconsistent, and I don’t think I saw an opposing hitter offer at any of the off-speed pitches. Taillon threw one early on that looked very nice, painting the outside corner at the knees against a lefty. He mixed in a few more throughout the game, but did not command them very well. He mostly missed on the arm-side and up, with at least one or two bouncing in the dirt. He certainly appears to have some more work to do on commanding the change.

Taillon finished the night with a bang, striking out the final five batters he faced. With two outs in the sixth, he faced one of the Giants’ top prospects in Gary Brown. Taillon fell behind 2-0 to Brown, before battling back to even the count. With his final pitch of the night, Taillon froze Brown with a curve that painted the inside corner. Frustrated, Brown briefly barked at the umpire on his way back to the dugout. Taillon calmly walked off the field, most likely finishing his night without ever breaking a sweat.

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About Matt Bandi

Matt has covered the Pirates at Wait ‘Til Next Year, Pittsburgh Lumber Co. and now Pirates Prospects. He served as Pirates team expert for Heater Magazine in 2009 and 2010 and has contributed to Graphical Player 2009, 2010 and 2011. Matt was also the editor of the 2011 and 2012 Pirates Prospects Annuals.

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