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Friday, April 21, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER REVISITED: JAMESON TAILLON SP PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Given the big start to the 2017 fantasy baseball season being engineered by Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon, let's take a look back at the sleeper piece I wrote on him back in spring training.  

While it was an unexpectedly difficult season for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2016, the one bright spot is that the organization was able to debut some of the prime prospects they have been accumulating over the years.  One member of that club was 25-year-old righty pitching gem Jameson Taillon who was the number 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft.  While it was a somewhat rocky climb up the Pirate minor league ladder (Taillon endured a Tommy John surgery and other physical ailments that wiped out his entire 2014 and 2015 seasons), the initial reviews from last year were mostly positive.  Earning a promotion in June after dominating at Triple-A with a 2.04 ERA, Taillon was not overmatched in any way against major league hitters as he showed off his mid-90’s fastball and knee-bending curve.  In 98 innings with the Pirates, Taillon posted a 3.49 ERA and 1.14 WHIP but it wasn’t all smooth sailing as he hit the DL in July with shoulder fatigue.  Any problem with a pitching shoulder is never a small thing and that is especially true when you consider the massive injuries Taillon has fought through already in his young career.  He is expected to be 100 percent for the start of the season but the injury risk is significant given what we already have seen on that front with Taillon.  Getting back to the numbers, Taillon is not a classic power pitcher befitting his draft status and so don’t pay a sticker price with that in mind.  The 7.44 K/9 rate Taillon registered as a rookie was just average but on the positive side, his control as is as good as it gets (1.29 BB/9 in 2016).  The ceiling could eventually go to the SP 2 floor but for now Taillon is a guy we like in the low SP 3 range with high risk attached.
2017 PROJECTION:  12-9 3.29 ERA 1.15 WHIP 146 K

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