The wait is over. Pirates pitching prospect Jameson Taillon will make his highly anticipated ML debut tonight at PNC Park as the Pirates look for a three-game sweep of the Mets. First pitch is set for 7:05PM.
Taillon was the Pirates second overall choice in the 2010 draft and is the organization’s number four prospect heading into the 2016 season (No. 49 prospect in MLB). After tossing 37 innings at Triple-A Indy back in 2013, Taillon suffered a torn UCL in his throwing elbow and had Tommy John surgery in April 2014. While he was recovering from Tommy John, Taillon had to undergo another surgery for a hernia. The surgeries forced him to not pitch for the next two seasons until this April when he made Indy’s rotation and dominated right from the start.
In 10 starts with Indianapolis, Taillon was 4-2 with a 2.04 ERA with an 8.9 K/9 and a ridiculously low 0.9 BB/9. He’s only walked six batters and given up two home runs in 61.2 innings this season. Taillon didn’t give up many hits either, just 44 for a 6.4 hits per nine innings. His season was such a welcomed sight to fans and himself after missing two full seasons due to the surgeries. Tonight, Taillon’s story continues in the big leagues against the defending NL champs.
What else do you need to know about the 24-year-old before tonight’s debut? He’s Canadian American, born in the states but parents are from Canada and he has dual citizenship from both countries. The right-hander pitched for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic back in 2013 at the age of 21. Taillon was born in Lakeland, Florida, grew up in Texas, has a tall 6’5 frame, turned down a scholarship with Rice to sign with the Pirates for $6.5M, shares his first name with an Irish whiskey and can dial-up a high velocity fastball along with what’s been described as a major league curveball.
Standing in the Pirates way of a sweep is a pretty good right-hander in Noah Syndergaard, who’s actually younger than Taillon. He’s only working on a 1.91 ERA this year in just his second season in the Majors. Syndergaard features an eye-popping 11.5 K/9 as he’s been mowing down the NL this season. He’s walked only 10 and given up just four home runs in 70 innings of work in 2016. This lineup will have their work cut out for them tonight: