The day that the Pittsburgh Pirates, Jameson Taillon, and all Pirates fans have been waiting for since 2010 is almost here. The Pirates announced Tuesday morning that top prospect Jameson Taillon would be promoted to the Major Leagues, and would make his debut for the Bucs on Wednesday against the New York Mets.
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Jameson Taillon to Make MLB Debut
Taillon’s moment has been six years in the making. The Lakeland, Florida native was drafted by the Pirates out of The Woodlands High School in Texas with the number two overall pick in the 2010 June Amateur Draft. The players drafter before and after him, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, have long since joined the MLB ranks, and have risen to stardom with the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles, respectively.
Taillon’s journey to the Major Leagues was far from easy, and was never supposed to take this long. In fact, he was supposed to join fellow homegrown starting pitcher Gerrit Cole in the rotation back in 2014. Though he did not begin his minor league career in dominant fashion, Taillon put in the work to develop his command. By the time his promotion was scheduled to come around, it looked like he could be a strong number two starter behind Cole in the Pirates rotation. Then, disaster struck.
In April of 2014, Taillon was diagnosed with an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The ligament was still intact, but the damage to it was still significant enough to require Taillon to undergo Tommy John surgery. It appeared his debut would have to wait another year.
Taillon had the surgery and began his rehab. Unfortunately, just as it looked like he was getting back on track, his road to the big leagues was once again derailed. He was shut down after feeling extreme discomfort in his lower abdomen, and was subsequently diagnosed with a inguinal hernia, which required surgery. He missed the remainder of the 2015 season.
Finally healthy, Taillon has been tearing up the International League. Thanks to a devastating curveball, he has recorded thirty-seven strikeouts in thirty-seven innings pitched for the Indianapolis Indians, the Pirates Triple-A affiliate. Though he still occasionally issues too many walks, partly due to the fact that his curve confuses umpires just as much as it confuses hitters, he has allowed only one home run on the season, and just sixteen hits overall in his six starts.
Taillon’s presence will solidify a rotation that needed reinforcements Juan Nicasio never managed to make good on the promise he showed as a starter, and will be sent back to the bullpen. Currently sitting in second place in a tough NL Central division, the Pirates will need all hands on deck to stay ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals. The 24-year old Taillon should help keep the ship sailing smoothly.