TribLIVE

| Sports


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Pirates' Taillon finds groove at Altoona

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Curve starting pitcher Jameson Taillon watches from the dugout during a game against Harrisburg on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Peoples Natural Gas Field in Altoona.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Curve starting pitcher Jameson Taillon watches from the dugout during a game against Harrisburg on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Peoples Natural Gas Field in Altoona.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Curve starting pitcher Jameson Taillon stands on the field during player introductions before a game against Harrisburg on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Peoples Natural Gas Field in Altoona.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Curve starting pitcher Jameson Taillon stands on the field during player introductions before a game against Harrisburg on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Peoples Natural Gas Field in Altoona.

Pirates/MLB Videos

Sunday, April 14, 2013, 11:30 p.m.
 

There was a period last season during which things were not going so well for Pirates prospect Jameson Taillon.

His first seven starts at High-A Bradenton were great, but the team's top pick (second overall) in the 2010 draft slipped into a slump, giving up 28 earned runs in 31 innings over his next six starts.

Taillon was 6-8 with a 3.82 ERA at Bradenton and earned a promotion to Double-A Altoona last August, where he finished strong and has started the same way there this year.

“I was working on some stuff, but really it was just my mental approach,” Taillon said of his midseason struggles. “Just because a guy hits a ball hard doesn't mean I have to switch up what I'm doing or what's been working. That's really what it was last year. Guys would get on base, and all of a sudden I'd think I had to change something up and do something differently when really it's not a big deal. You just keep going at them.”

It was an important lesson — one that others tried to explain to him, Taillon said — but there's often no better teacher than experience.

“I think it's something you just have to learn by going through it,” said the 21-year-old from The Woodlands, Texas. “It was something that, when stuff was going bad for me, everything was going against me. There was some soul searching, and I learned a lot about myself.”

Taillon is 1-1 with a 1.64 ERA this season. He has given up two runs, nine hits, four walks and struck out 14 in two starts (11 innings). After a scoreless debut, he struck out a career-high 10 in a 4-0 loss Friday, including four of the first six he faced.

The Pirates' No. 2 prospect behind fellow right-hander Gerrit Cole also pitched for Canada in the World Baseball Classic in March. Canada didn't advance past the first round, but Taillon said he was honored to have the opportunity.

“It was a great learning experience getting to pitch in front of 30,000 people at a big league stadium, big league treatment, and getting used to facing big league hitters,” he said. “There was something I could take away from every little aspect of it.”

Taillon said he got a lot more comfortable with his off-speed pitches last season. His fastball command was solid, but toward the end of the season he was throwing his curveball for a strike in any count and his changeup when he was in a hitter's count.

“That was a big step for me — not just having good stuff but putting it all together and working hitters and setting them up — so it all kind of started coming together at the end,” he said.

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said Sunday he's looking for consistency of emotion, delivery and pitches from Taillon.

“The use of the changeup, the third pitch for him at the major league level, is going to be important,” Huntington said. “The ability to throw the breaking ball for strikes and for (batters to) chase, the ability to do it consistently enough and then commanding both the four-and the two-seamer, it's the script that you write for every young pitcher. He just has the stuff to go along with it.”

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at kprice@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Notre Dame President Hesburgh expanded school, improved academics, fought for civil rights
  2. McKeesport Area students share views during Black History Month panel talk
  3. White Oak seeks funds to stabilize road
  4. Duquesne Elementary School students join the ranks of junior constables
  5. Previously convicted of embezzlement, Mt. Pleasant postal worker accused of mail theft
  6. Finding perfect pairing for Ehrhoff key for Penguins
  7. Ex-Brewers star Hart hopes to prove to Pirates he still can play
  8. Pirates sickened by pic of ‘Jihadi John’ wearing Bucs ball cap
  9. Temp slowly rising
  10. Pittsburgh police chief: Officers, public must unite against violence
  11. Apollo to improve safety