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Premium Content Pitch-by-Pitch: Scouting Jameson Taillon

July 23, 2011 BY ALEX EISENBERG 2 Comments
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KEY PROSPECTS WE’RE WATCHINGJameson Taillon (RHP | Pirates) | Delino DeShields Jr. (2b | Astros) | Jiovanni Mier (SS | Astros) | Adam Bailey (RF | Astros) | Mike Kvasnicka (3b | Astros) | Chris Wallace (C | Astros)



ABOUT VIDEO STRUCTURE: Videos are edited to include only key and legitimate prospects. Time between pitches and between innings are edited out. Games are edited so you can scout and evaluate a prospect in the most convenient and quickest way possible.

What surprised me most about Jameson Taillon’s start against Lexington was how good his fastball command. We know how good his stuff is. We know he can throw strikes just fine. But I didn’t expect him to locate his fastball as well as he did. I thought that would come in time. But the No. 2 pick of the 2010 draft works both corners quite well and he does a good job of keeping hitters off balance by working different quadrants of the strike zone.

In fact, Taillon shows excellent feel for pitching, as I describe in his encounters with some of Houston’s top hitting prospects.

Taillon’s fastball…

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    …was sharp and showed terrific life. The radar gun showed him working mostly 92 or 93, though the Lexington gun I think is 2 or 3 mph slower than it should be.

    He mostly stuck with his fastball, mixing in both his slider and curveball. The slider showed plus potential, while the curveball flashed plus-plus potential. If Taillon threw a change-up, I wasn’t able to pick up on it. The angle, and the bad contrast early in the video made it difficult to decipher pitches at times.

    The biggest negative I found with Taillon was that Lexington was able to get some pretty good hacks in on Taillon. This is something Keith Law picked up on before last year’s draft, as he noticed high school hitters were occasionally able to hit some hard shots off Taillon, something that should not have happened that often given the kind of stuff he possesses.

    But overall, I was pleased by what I saw from Taillon. Here is a run down on how Taillon fared against some of the top prospects in the Lexington line-up. Time markers are still provided for any prospect not discussed…

    vs. Delino DeShields Jr. – 0:00, 1:52, 3:19

    0:00 — Taillon immediately started DeShields out with two perfectly located fastballs on the inside corner to get ahead in the count. He just missed on the next pitch, also an inside fastball. He froze DeShields on the next pitch, moving his fastball to the outside corner of the plate. Again, perfectly located.

    1:52 — DeShields attacked the first pitch he saw from Taillon in his next at bat. It was another well located fastball, but DeShields waited on the pitch and launched it hard the opposite way. However, it didn’t carry far enough for the home run and the right fielder tracked it down. That is a good symbol of DeShields’ season, where he’s been extremely unlucky on balls put into play.

    3:19 — DeShields popped out in his last at bat.

    vs. Jiovanni Mier – 0:14, 1:58, 3:28

    0:14 — Obviously Mier witnessed what happened to DeShields in his at bat. And it looked familiar to him as Taillon started Mier off with a perfectly placed fastball for strike one, and then another fastball, which he fouled off. And then a third fastball that missed up. DeShields was frozen on that fourth fastball. Mier saw it. So what does Taillon do? Unleash just a wicked curveball that froze Mier in his tracks for the punch out. Not only is that lethal stuff and precise command, but that is an understanding of how to pitch.

    1:58 — Like DeShields, Miers went after the first pitch he saw from Taillon in his next at bat. It was an outside corner fastball that Mier fouled off.

    Taillon and his catcher might have noticed how Mier had to lean in to reach that ball, so they went inside with the fastball. Mier didn’t pick it up immediately and started his swing. He tried to pull back, but the bat still made contact with the ball, and now he was behind in the count 0-2.

    Mier struck out on the next pitch that I could not identify. Could have been a slider, or a sinking fastball, but either way Mier swung over top of the pitch for strike three.

    3:28 — In his last at bat, Mier flied out to right field on the second pitch.

    vs. Chris Wallace – 0:33, 2:10

    Wallace is having a big year with the bat, and plays a premium defensive position at catcher. So far, he’s making the Astros organization very smart for taking him in the 16th round of last year’s draft.

    0:33 — In his first at bat, Taillon was able to jam him on an inside 93 mph fastball that he popped out to right field.

    2:10 — He went after Taillon’s first pitch in his second bat in a hit-and-run attempt. It looked like Bailey was again jammed, but he muscled the ball the opposite way, exactly as he was instructed to do and ended up getting a bloop hit out of it.

    The other prospects to take note of that I don’t have write-ups on are:

    vs. Adam Bailey – 0:23, 2:04

    vs. Mike Kvasnicka – 0:47, 2:17


    • rbt said:

      Alex, some time back you said you were going to do a pitch-by-pitch on Mike Montgomery; is that still in the works?

    • Alex Eisenberg (author) said:

      Yup…for some reason I keep putting other articles ahead of it. Julio Teheran vs. Kipnis/Chissenhall/Columbus is next, but Montgomery will be either the next after Teheran or two down the line. I’ll have it up within the next week or two.