Wednesday, June 29, 2016

UPDATED POSTGAME--A Scouting Report on Jameson Taillon Going into his 5th Career Start

Jameson Taillon had a strong outing and notched his second major league victory in the Pirates 8-1 win over the Mariners Wednesday night. After admittedly having trouble commanding his curveball last time out, Taillon's curve was excellent this time around. Taillon struggled a bit in the first, but then settled in, retiring ten in a row before giving up a leadoff double to start the fifth. He used all four pitches effectively and finished with a line of 6IP, 6H, 1R, 0BB, 6K, 95-68.

Adding last night's outing to the chart provided below, here are his first five career starts (innings pitched/pitches/swings-and-misses/strikeouts):

6/8      6.0-91-5-3
6/14    8.0-91-6-5
6/19    4.0-85-5-5
6/24    4.0-70-4-2 (pitched to 3 batters in the 5th)
6/29    6.0-95-8-6

Last night he posted career-highs in pitches, swings-and-misses and strikeouts. Taillon was efficient through five throwing between 11 and 16 pitches in each inning, but a 28-pitch sixth, highlighted by a fantastic 13-pitch at bat by Seth Smith, meant the end of the night.

Taillon did get four of his eight swinging strikes in the sixth and showcased his best two-seam fastball, back-to-back, to K Nelson Cruz. After falling behind 3-1, Taillon got a swinging strike on a perfectly located 95-mph sinker that moved down and in, and then came right back with another 95-mph two seamer on the outside corner that Cruz waved at for strike three.

Here is how Taillon finished off his six punchouts on the night:

2nd: Seager, 80-mph curve, swinging 
3rd: Martin, 88-mph change, looking
4th: Smith, 81-mph curve, looking
4th: Cano, 80-mph curve, swinging
6th: Martin 78-mph curve, swinging
6th: Cruz, Down 3-1 two great 95 mph 2-seamers, both swinging

Here's some highlights of Taillon's night courtesy of

If the video fails to load, here is a link.

Jameson Taillon is about to make his fifth career start tonight against Wade Miley and the Seattle Mariners. Taillon was solid his debut and excellent in his second start both against the offensively-challenged New York Mets. That was followed by the Cubs welcoming the big righthander to Wrigley in his national television debut with three home runs in four innings and his first career loss. Last Friday the Pirates stalked Taillon to a four-run second inning lead, but he was unable to record an out in the fifth and left the game with his second consecutive 4IP, 8H, 4R stat line.

In watching Taillon's first starts I've been paying attention to his efficiency and his swings-and-misses. Taillon is known for his excellent command and he's carried that to the majors. After walking two of the first 13 batters he faced in his career, he's only walked three of the next 78, 3.8% vs a MLB average of 7.8%.

What he hasn't generated is a lot of swings-and-misses or strikeouts. Here are the numbers in his first 4 starts (innings pitched/pitches/swings-and-misses/strikeouts):

6/8      6.0-91-5-3
6/14    8.0-91-6-5
6/19    4.0-85-5-5
6/24    4.0-70-4-2 (pitched to 3 batters in the 5th)

In his second start, Taillon showed really good sinking arm-side run on his two-seamer and excellent command of his curveball. In going eight innings he never threw more than 15 pitches in an inning. It didn't carry over to his start in Wrigley. He threw 33 pitches in the first, 18 in the second and 23 in the third. After not reaching 100 pitches in any of his minor league starts this year, he was not brought out for the fifth even after an efficient 1-2-3, 2 strikeout, 11-pitch fourth.

His last effort was Taillon's worst. His fastball was flat and often up in the zone and he didn't command his curveball. The Dodgers had no trouble barreling him up, particularly early in counts, as four of their eight hits were on the first pitch and two more came on 1-0 counts.

I went back and took a quick look at Gerrit Cole's first four starts in 2013 for a comparison (innings/pitches/swing-and-misses/strikeouts):

6/11    6.1-81-8-2
6/16    5.2-80-4-1
6/21    6.1-88-10-5
6/28    6.0-94-6-3

Not all that dissimilar. The Pirates could really use a win tonight. We'll see what Jameson Taillon brings to the table.