2010 draft preview: Scouting pitcher Jameson Taillon

Body Type

He has a big, physical frame with some projection remaining

Stuff

Fastball—Tremendous velocity and life…can hit the upper 90s though he’s more consistently in the 92-96 mph range…excellent carry through the strike zone and it picks up an extra gear as it approaches home plate. The fastball appears to rise on hitters.

Taillon sometimes has trouble keeping his fastball down in the zone and he’ll get hit when he leaves the ball over the heart of the plate. The pitch will also straighten out on him at times, leaving it hittable.

Curveball—Good tilt and snap on a two-plane break…comes in on the same plane as his fastball. The trajectory of the pitch is a little higher when he throws his curveball for strikes, but it still looks like a high fastball out of his hand. Taillon throws from a three-quarters arm slot, but will occasionally raise his arm slot slightly when throwing the curveball.

The pitch could use a little more consistency, but it’s still a plus pitch at its best and has the potential to be a bit better. Below you can see an example of Taillon’s curveball on the left (84 mph) and his fastball on the right (94 mph):

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*Credit to MLB Advanced Media

Slider—Another potential plus offering, the pitch is a little behind his curveball. The pitch breaks hard left though its depth is questionable and there are times you can spot the break soon after release before it really makes that sharp turn left. There is an almost Frisbee-like movement to the pitch.

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*Credit to TxBaseballInstitute

Change-up—Behind his other offerings, as with most pitchers Taillon’s age, but it has the makings of an above-average offering. He maintains his arm speed well and is clocked 8-12 mph slower than his fastball with solid fading action.

Scouting Report

Jameson Taillon is a potential top-five pick in the 2010 draft and is regarded by many as the top overall pitcher in this year’s draft class. He’s committed to Rice, but obviously he’s considered signable or he wouldn’t be considered a top-five pick.

At this point, Taillon’s command is behind his control. He’s generally able to throw strikes, but he doesn’t always hit the glove. At the high school level, he’s able to simply overpower hitters, but he’s going to have to do a better job of commanding his stuff against more advanced hitters.

Now, that’s not to say he can’t command his stuff. He can, but he must do it more consistently. Taillon can throw his ball to both sides of the plate, but he has better command to his arm side.

Part of Taillon’s command issues can be traced to a tendency of rushing through his delivery.

Mechanically, Taillon starts out very slow as he lifts his front leg and then explodes from there. He has around an average tempo—the number of frames from which the knee reaches its uppermost point to release—of 24 or 25 frames, but he looks quicker than that. More importantly, there are no hitches in his arm action: It’s very smooth looking. Any unnecessary pause in one’s arm action or delivery can cause a pitcher to bleed energy, which costs him velocity. Taillon also loads his shoulder extremely well, which is surely a factor in his tremendous velocity. The more velocity, the higher the risk of injury, however.

image
*Credit to rkyosh007

Overall, Taillon has a lot going on mechanically. He dips his back shoulder in an effort to keep his torso back while he leads with his hips. He then has a a step-over move to increase his stride length and kick-start an aggressive hip rotation. Nevertheless, he has the athletic ability and body control to coordinate all these moving parts.

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Taillon generates excellent separation between his torso and hips. The torso uncoils violently forward, bringing the arm along for the ride and resulting in a whip-like arm action with the ball exploding out of his hand.

Taillon’s landing is a little inconsistent, sometimes on his arm side and in a closed position. However, he has the basics down for proper front side mechanics, firming up his glove out in front of his chest and keeping his front shoulder closed.

It’s clear Taillon is a tremendously talented pitcher. He has most of what you look for in an elite level pitching prospect and he’s somebody who can work his way quickly through a team’s minor league system because of the quality of his stuff. While he’s not a sure thing and has some things to work on, Taillon represents an opportunity for some team to add a potential true No. 1 starter into its stockpile of prospects.


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TCQ
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TCQ

God, I love this stuff. Haven’t had breakdowns like this since Carlos Gomez left – with the caveat of anything I’ve missed, obviously. Great work, Alex.

Alex Eisenberg
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Alex Eisenberg

Thanks, TCQ.

I actually did fill in for Carlos for a period of time, but it was back in 2008.

Ari Berkowitz
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Ari Berkowitz

You missed one huge problem with his mechanics, the dreaded inverted W.  This combined with his fastball velocity, in my book, puts him in dangerous waters when talking about elbow/shoulder injuries.  It would not surprise me if Taillon would need serious surgery sometime in the next 5 years.

Alex Eisenberg
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Alex Eisenberg
Ari, I don’t fall into the camp that sees an inverted arm action and immediately thinks injury.  I look for how well he repeats it, what’s his timing like, how well he uses his body—as well as his arm—to generate velocity. I understand the theory behind it, but that’s all it is at this point: a theory.  I see many pitchers with inverted arm actions who have long, durable, and successful careers.  I also see pitchers with inverted arm actions who get injured, but still go on to have tremendous careers.  On the other hand, I see many pitchers with… Read more »
LJ
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LJ

Nice, except for the “more velocity increases risk of injury.” Dr. Glenn Feisig of Jim Andrews facility says that this is not true. I heard him recently on a local radio show here in Alabama talking about Strausberg.

Alex Eisenberg
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Alex Eisenberg

Thanks for the info, LJ.

The more velocity = higher injury risk is really just a theory, but I assumed it to be a pretty logical one since high velocity throwers often have higher effort, more violent deliveries and because of this are able to produce velocities they otherwise couldn’t.

Could you expand on what Dr. Felsig said in regard to Strasburg?

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