Results tagged ‘ Jameson Taillon ’

Game 35: Dodgers (16-19) @ Pirates (17-17)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

.500

I’ll admit that I still have a hard time understanding the joy over this number being that it is May 9. Yes, I understand that a little more than 20 percent of the season is in the books. But I also am very much aware that there is close to 80 percent left. That said, is the hoopla really justified?

I am in my fifth season covering this team, and during my time on the beat I have come to understand why .500 is a benchmark. I get it. However, other than .500 being a step to a bigger, better goal, I have a hard time believing this is the biggest news to come out of the first 34 games. Feel free to disagree (and I know some of you will), but I feel the excitement shouldn’t necessarily be over the record, but over the way this team is playing.

The pitching has been much better than most expected, and that is significant. This franchise won’t have winning baseball without major steps forward on the pitching side, and we’re seeing some of those steps forward already. The offense, on the other hand, has not played up to its expectations or capabilities. The fact that the team is 17-17 without an offense that has clicked from top to bottom at the same times means that this can actually get better. That should be encouraging to those of you who are wondering whether .500 or better baseball can be sustained.

So feel free to get excited about .500 if you want. But more than any record, pay attention to what you’re seeing on the field. Appreciate those improvements.

Some other news and notes…

  • Third baseman Pedro Alvarez is back in the lineup on Monday. He ended up missing four full games because of that right quad tightness.
  • Pirates starters allowed two earned runs in 21 innings in the recently-completed series against the Astros. The rotation has posted a 2.79 ERA in its last seven games.
  • Had a really candid conversation with Chris Resop a little while ago, the contents of which you can find on pirates.com tonight.
  • With his homer on Sunday, Ryan Doumit now stands alone in third place for home runs among Pirates catchers. He has hit 50. Jason Kendall (66) and Tony Pena (63) are the only two still ahead of him.
  • Right-hander Jameson Taillon made his third start — and longest one yet — for low-A West Virginia on Sunday. Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 Draft, allowed one run on three hits in five innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out five.
  • On the subject of the ’10 Draft, second-rounder Stetson Allie remains in extended Spring Training. GM Neal Huntington said on Sunday that the club has not finalized whether Allie will begin his professional career in short-season State College (season opens in June) or with West Virginia. The organization wanted to keep Allie down in Florida just for development purposes. Unlike Taillon, Allie was not as advanced a pitcher when he was drafted.
  • The Pirates were out working specifically on bunt defenses earlier this afternoon. As was evidenced on Sunday, there is still some need for work in this area. The Pirates have had a few slip-ups with their bunt defenses this season — including two in the past week.
  • Righty Evan Meek threw from 150 feet on Monday. He continues to feel good.
  • Brad Lincoln had a nice performance with Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday. That’s two solid starts in a row for Lincoln, who could put himself in position to be considered for a call-up if he continues to pitch well. Lincoln picked up a win on Sunday by scattering six hits and two walks and allowing one run. He struck out seven in the six-inning outing.
  • Also down in Triple-A, Alex Presley only continues to hit. He had three more hits on Sunday, scored twice and drove in one.
  • Jose Ascanio is scheduled to make his final rehab appearance with Indianapolis tonight. Ascanio, who has been working his way back from right shoulder surgery, is slated to throw two innings in the outing. The last day Ascanio can pitch is May 10 (rehab assignments can only last 30 days for pitchers), so the Pirates will have to take him off the DL this week. Because Ascanio is out of options, he would have to clear waivers to be assigned to Triple-A. I anticipate that Ascanio will be joining the big league bullpen.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), G. Jones (RF), N. Walker (2B), L. Overbay (1B), R. Doumit (C), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Cedeno (SS), J. Karstens (RHP)

DODGERS: J. Carroll (SS), A. Miles (2B), A. Ethier (RF), M. Kemp (CF), J. Uribe (3B), J. Loney (1B), J. Sands (LF), R. Barajas (C), C. Billingsley (RHP)

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Game 23: Giants (10-11) @ Pirates (10-12)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The defending World Series champs are in town, which means former Pirates Freddy Sanchez and Javier Lopez are visiting for the next three days. Oh, and it’s been raining. Weather could be a factor each of the next two days.

News and notes…

  • In case you missed it, the Pirates claimed Xavier Paul off waivers today from the Dodgers. He’s an outfielder, so you’d have to think that either John Bowker or Steve Pearce are going to be on their way out soon. More on that here.
  • Paul is likely to arrive in Pittsburgh either Wednesday or Thursday. He has 72 hours to report, so technically he could also meet the team in Colorado on Friday.
  • Ross Ohlendorf will throw his first bullpen session on Wednesday. He threw from a distance of 120 feet today. Ohlendorf will throw 2-3 bullpens and then a live batting practice session. Once he gets through all those steps, he’ll begin a Minor League rehab assignment that will likely last one or two starts.
  • In case you missed it last night, it was confirmed that Jameson Taillon (No. 2 overall pick in 2010) will make his professional debut on Wednesday. He is joining the low-A West Virginia rotation. And as the schedule would have it, Taillon will be facing Bryce Harper’s Hagerstown team. So it’ll be No. 1 vs. No. 2.
  • Manager Clint Hurdle mentioned yesterday that he wanted to find a day off for Jose Tabata and Neil Walker pretty soon. For Tabata, that day ended up being Tuesday. Matt Diaz moves to left and Garrett Jones sticks in right. Walker’s day off will have to wait, though Brandon Wood is spelling Ronny Cedeno a day.
  • With his save on Monday, Joel Hanrahan is 6-for-6 in save opportunities this month. The last Pittsburgh closer with more than six April saves was Salomon Torres. He had eight in April 2007.
  • Right-hander Jose Ascanio (who was struck in the head by a line drive last Friday) returned to the mound for Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday. It was not a stellar outing (1 1/3 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB), but certainly a good sign that he was OK after a scary incident.
  • All-Star ballots have been released and you can find more information on how to vote online here. This year’s game will be played in Phoenix.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), M. Diaz (LF), L. Overbay (1B), N. Walker (2B), G. Jones (RF), R. Doumit (C), P. Alvarez (3B), B. Wood (SS), C. Morton (RHP)

GIANTS: A. Rowand (CF), F. Sanchez (2B), A. Huff (1B), B. Posey (C), P. Sandoval (3B), P. Burrell (LF), C. Ross (RF), M. Tejada (SS), M. Cain (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

MLB.com’s Top 10 Pirates Prospects

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

All month, MLB.com is slowly rolling out its Top 10 prospects list for each club. On Tuesday, Pittsburgh’s list was revealed. The full story is here for you to read more about each prospect. If you’re just looking for the list, it is as follows:

  1. RHP Jameson Taillon
  2. RHP Stetson Allie
  3. C Tony Sanchez
  4. LHP Rudy Owens
  5. RHP Bryan Morris
  6. RHP Luis Heredia
  7. LHP Jeff Locke
  8. OF Starling Marte
  9. RHP Zack Von Rosenberg
  10. LHP Colton Cain

You agree or disagree with any of the placements? Feel free to discuss…

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Day 5: Daily Squeeze

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Prospects.jpgOfficially, the first full-squad workout isn’t scheduled until Saturday. As it turned out, though, all 62 players were here this morning and all that were healthy took the fields for workouts on Friday. The one noticeable absentee on the field was lefty Scott Olsen, who has a mild left hamstring strain. He’ll be re-evaluated daily, the Pirates said, and we expect to have an update on his status in a week.

By all indications, Olsen won’t be able to do anything until then. He had already told me that he was building his arm up a little slower-than-usual this spring given his past shoulder issues. With this setback, you now have to wonder if Olsen is going to be able to log enough innings to be ready as a starter by Opening Day.

Though Brad Lincoln, Daniel McCutchen, Jeff Karstens and Brian Burres would contend otherwise, the Pirates have been hinting for a while now that the fifth spot in the rotation would likely come down to Olsen and Charlie Morton. Now, Morton might have the leg up. This would be the time, too, where one of those other guys sneaks up and becomes a serious part of the discussion.

We should have a better grasp on Olsen’s timetable by the end of next week.

As for the rest of your daily notes:

  • Many of the pitchers were called in for early work this morning, and they broke up into groups to focus on a number of specific things — delivery, side steps, pick off moves and bunt plays. This all happened before the 10 am workout.
  • Ronny Cedeno and Brian Friday arrived at Pirate City and participated in workouts for the first time. They were the only two position players that hadn’t yet reported.
  • Cedeno talked at length with reporters about his desire to prove he is an everyday shortstop at the Major League level. Clint Hurdle and Nick Leyva (infield instructor) also spoke about what they hope to see from Cedeno this spring. You can find all this in today’s feature on the main site.
  • Speaking of Cedeno, he’ll be wearing No. 5 this year. He gave Hurdle No. 13 and goes back to a number that he wore with the Cubs.
  • Leyva has done his homework on Cedeno and the rest of the infield group he has inherited. He has spoken extensively with Carlos Garcia, who was the Pirates’ infield instructor last year. He has also spoken to Perry Hill, who was with the Pirates in 2009. Leyva said he will be incorporating many of the same defensive drills that Hill introduced here during his one-year stay.
  • Jose Ascanio (28 pitches) appeared in camp, as those visa issues have now been fixed. He began his work to catch up to the rest of the pitchers by throwing his first side session.
  • Lefty Donnie Veal (34 pitches) also took the mound to throw on Friday. Remember, he’s on a more limited throwing program this spring as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
  • The rest of the pitchers had the day off from throwing and worked mostly on defensive drills. The first group of pitchers will throw live batting practice to the hitters on Saturday, with the second group then scheduled to go on Sunday.
  • Steve Pearce spent the day working with the outfielders. Before today, I had only seen Pearce doing defensive drills at first base. He is going to get extensive work at both spots all spring.
  • Three spectators stood out on the Pirate City grounds. Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie and Luis Heredia – your big three pitching prospects — wandered around watching the morning workouts. You can see the three in the photo above, which was taken by team photographer Dave Arrigo. All three pitchers are participating in the Pirates’ early Minor League camp.
  • Position players ended workouts by working on situational bunting and hitting. A coach would give them a play (squeeze, slap bunt, drag bunt, hit-and-run, etc.) and each hitter had to execute. Not that it’s fair to make firm evaluations this early in spring, but Pedro Alvarez was definitely off with his timing during the drill. A lot of swings and misses. I didn’t see everyone hit, but of those who did, Neil Walker and Ryan Doumit looked pretty sharp.

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Day 1: Daily Squeeze

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Hurdle, Clint.jpgThe Daily Squeeze (aka: round-up following each workout day) is back for another year, and there are plenty of items of interest to report on this Valentine’s Day. I must say that the weather made for the perfect baseball setting, as we’re getting spoiled on that front already. No complaints in that department.

Spent part of the morning catching up with Ryan Doumit, who was one of the first people I wanted to target given what transpired this offseason. You can read what Doumit had to say here. I will add that while he was plenty careful in the words he chose and the delivery he used, Doumit is not content being a backup catcher. And know that the Pirates continue to pursue trade opportunities. This story isn’t about to die anytime soon.

As for the rest of your daily squeeze:

  • As of last count, the Pirates have 54 of 62 players checked in to Pirate City already. Position players aren’t required to be here until the end of the day on Friday. However, only seven are still missing. Certainly, those who are fighting for jobs have plenty of incentive to show up early. But other early arrivals include guys with firm grasp on starting roles, including Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata.
  • Speaking of Alvarez, GM Neal Huntington noted that the third baseman is stronger than he has ever been. Huntington adamently refuted a recent report that Alvarez had gained 15 pounds over the winter, though Huntington didn’t deny that Alvarez had gained some weight. I’ll look more in depth at this weight issue later in the week. But know that for now, Alvarez is sticking at third base.
  • The winner of the closer’s job should be known soon. Huntington indicated a decision is forthcoming (maybe already made) and that we will know after the players are informed. The Pirates are not, Hurdle said, going to use a co-closer model. My guess is that the job goes to Joel Hanrahan. But that’s only a guess.
  • Jose Ascanio was the only no show among the pitchers/catchers bunch that took the field on Monday. Ascanio is tied up in Venezuela with visa issues. Huntington said that Ascanio expected to get his visa today and, assuming he does, that means the righty will arrive in Bradenton on Tuesday.
  • A total of fifteen pitchers took the mound for side sessions during the afternoon. That group included Paul Maholm, Kevin Correia, Hanrahan, Jose VerasJoe Beimel, Aaron Thompson, Justin Wilson, Ross Ohlendorf, James McDonald, Evan Meek, Scott Olsen, Kyle McPherson, Rudy Owens, Michael Crotta and Jeff Locke. “Good one huh?” Doumit said to Maholm, after Maholm’s session.
  • In addition to side sessions, there was plenty of PFPs (pitchers fielding practice) going on this afternoon. There was also bunting practice and conditioning. This is the norm for these first two weeks.
  • Hitters who had arrived early took batting practice and also did fielding drills of their own.
  • Right-hander Tyler Yates is recovered from Tommy John surgery and is going through the same spring program as all the other pitchers. While there is still some unknown about how he will throw after such a long layoff, Yates is in competition for an Opening Day bullpen spot.
  • The only two pitchers who are really limited early are Kevin Hart and Donnie Veal. Both had arm surgeries last year and neither is ready to throw. There is still a chance that Hart could be ready by Opening Day. But each day that goes by lessens the chances of that. Veal, who will do little on-field work this spring, is targeting a May or June return. Neither has had any setbacks to this point.
  • I’ve already spotted Manny Sanguillen and Bill Virdon here as extra coaches. I was told that Bill Mazeroski will be making his first appearance later this week. It’s always a blast having the old timers around.
  • MiLB.com caught up with 2010 first-round pick Jameson Taillon recently. If you want to look at the interview, you can find it here.
  • Though the players didn’t take the field until about 12:20 p.m. on Monday, workouts will begin earlier in the coming days. Pitchers and catchers had their physicals this morning and there was a short team meeting at noon during which Huntington and Hurdle addressed the group.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

In case you missed it…

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

  • Last night, Pirates right-hander Jameson Taillon was ranked by MLB.com as baseball’s 18th best prospect. He was the only Pirates prospect to make the list, which can be found in its entirety here.
  • Third baseman Andy LaRoche has signed a Minor League deal with Oakland and will be competing for a spot on their Opening Day roster in Spring Training.
  • The Pirates’ caravan continues this week, leading up to PirateFest this weekend. If you want to know what stops remain on the schedule, check this out.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Instructional League info

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Mon.

Sept.

27

Blue Jays @ PIRATES

Tues.

Sept.

28

CAMP DAY

Wed.

Sept.

29

PIRATES @ Phillies

Thurs.

Sept.

30

CAMP DAY

Fri.

Oct.

1

Yankees @ PIRATES

Sat.

Oct.

2

CAMP DAY

Sun.

Oct.

3

OFF-DAY

Mon.

Oct.

4

PIRATES @ Blue Jays

Tues.

Oct.

5

CAMP DAY

Wed.

Oct.

6

Phillies @ PIRATES

Thurs.

Oct.

7

CAMP DAY

Fri.

Oct.

8

PIRATES @ Yankees*

Sat.

Oct.

9

CAMP DAY

Sun.

Oct.

10

OFF-DAY

Mon.

Oct.

11

Blue Jays @ PIRATES

Tues.

Oct.

12

CAMP DAY

Wed.

Oct.

13

PIRATES @ Phillies

Thurs.

Oct.

14

CAMP DAY

Fri.

Oct.

15

Braves @ PIRATES*

Sat.

Oct.

16

CAMP DAY

Sun.

Oct.

17

OFF-DAY

Mon.

Oct.

18

PIRATES @ Braves

Tues.

Oct.

19

CAMP DAY

Wed.

Oct.

20

Braves @ PIRATES

Thurs.

Oct.

21

CAMP DAY

Fri.

Oct.

22

PIRATES @ Blue Jays*

I was asked if I could produce a schedule of the Pirates’ Instructional League, and so I have posted that here to the right.
 
Workouts began this past Monday, though, as you can see, games don’t begin until next week. For those of you in Bradenton, there are six home dates. Those contests will be played at Pirate City.
 
The last roster I viewed showed 92 pitchers and position players participating, though that number is somewhat fluid. For example, Lastings Milledge told me the other day that he plans on participating in instructional league after the season, once he is recovered from his oblique injury.
 
If you’re looking for notable participants, Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie (the Pirates’ first two picks in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft) headline the group. This is the first taste of professional action for either right-hander.
 
Instructional league has two ending dates. Some players will be departing on October 9. The last wave of players will be finished on October 23.
 
Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB
 
 

Source: Bucs sign Taillon

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

It appears to be a big day for the Pirates’ franchise, as a source has confirmed that the organization has signed first-rounder Jameson Taillon before Monday’s midnight deadline. That means that both Taillon and second-rounder Stetson Allie are about to join the system.

The Pirates have already announced their agreement with Allie. The deal with Taillon should be announced soon.

It is it not yet known what it cost for the Pirates to ink both right-handed pitchers. Both were expected to receive bonuses well above the recommended slot.

On Monday, the Pirates also announced that agreements had been reached with two later-round picks – Drew Maggi (15th round) and Jared Lakind (23rd round). Multiple sources confirmed that Maggi will receive a $468,000 signing bonus. A source confirmed that Lakind’s bonus was also well above slot.

It was the negotiations with Taillon and Allie, though, that were most anticipated as the signing deadline approached. Both players are represented by the Hendricks Brothers, who recently met with Pirates general manager Neal Huntington and scouting director Greg Smith to expedite the negotiation process.

Taillon, who was selected only behind Bryce Harper, recently graduated from The Woodlands (Texas) High School and is forgoing a scholarship to Rice University to join the Pirates’ organization.

Already having drawn comparisons to other Houston-area pitching products like Josh Beckett and Roger Clemens, Taillon went 8-1 with a 1.78 ERA and 114 strikeouts and 62 2/3 innings as a senior.

The Pirates envision the 18-year-old as a potential top-of-the-rotation starter given his makeup and talent at such an early age.

Though he dropped to the second round – likely because of perceived bonus demands – Allie is another young, right-handed power arm that the Pirates are excited to add to the system. The 19-year-old recent high school graduate had been under scholarship to attend the University of North Carolina.

In his senior season at St. Edward High School in Lakeland, Ohio, Allie went 9-1 with a 1.29 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 60 innings. His fastball has been clocked at 100 mph, and Baseball America rated Allie as the eighth-best prospect in the country before the Draft.

“We are very pleased to be able to come to terms with Stetson Allie,” Smith said. “He is a physical right-handed pitcher with a solid combination of intelligence and competitiveness to go along with a power fastball, breaking ball mix and a complimentary changeup. Stetson was one of the best high school pitchers available in the Draft, and he has the potential to be a quality Major League starting pitcher. We appreciate the faith that Stetson and his family have placed in our development team, and we look forward to helping Stetson reach all of his professional goals.”

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Bucs, Allie agree to terms

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates have reached an agreement with second-round Draft pick Stetson Allie before Monday’s midnight signing deadline, a baseball source confirmed with MLB.com.

The deal is not 100 percent done — some details must still be nailed down — but the parameters are in place to add the right-handed pitcher to the organization by the end of the night.

Financial details are not known at this point, though Allie was expected to command an above-slot bonus despite falling to the second round in the June First-Year Player Draft.

Allie had previously committed to attend the University of North Carolina after graduation.

The Pirates continue negotiations with first-rounder Jameson Taillon, a right-handed pitcher out of the Houston area.

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Pirates select Jameson Taillon with No. 2 overall pick

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

For the first time since drafting Andrew McCutchen in 2005, the Pirates have used their top pick in the First-Year Player Draft on a high schooler. Pittsburgh selected hard-throwing right-hander Jameson Taillon in the Draft on Monday after the Nationals took Bryce Harper as the No. 1 overall selection.

Taillon, who just finished his senior season at The Woodlands (Texas) High School, is out of an area that has produced power pitchers Josh Beckett and Roger Clemens. Now, the Pirates can only hope that the 6-foot-6, 220-pound righty touches similar success.

The potential is unquestionably there. Taillon, 18, has a four-pitch mix with his fastball sitting consistently in the mid- to upper-90s. Reports have that fastball touching 99 mph on the radar gun at times throughout the spring. Taillon’s curveball and slider have also already developed into solid secondary pitches.

Taillon finished his senior year 9-1 with a 1.69 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings. And in addition to his on-field success, scouts have raved about Taillon’s makeup. His commitment to Rice University is a product of his focus on academics. His work ethic – not to mention, his offseason time spent in the gym – was unmatched among his teammates.

“He’s a pretty special young man,” Taillon’s high school coach Ron Eastman told MLB.com earlier this year. “We knew that coming in. He’s a hard thrower and a great kid. He’s continued to grow and mature, not just as a player.”

Given the risk in taking high school pitchers high in the Draft, the Pirates were also strongly considering taking high school shortstop Manny Machado with that No. 2 overall pick. Machado and Taillon were widely agreed to be the top two high school players in a Draft class heavy in high school talent.

But even though history shows that high school pitchers are among the biggest Draft gambles, the Pirates believe they have identified reasons why Taillon can be an exception like Beckett (No. 2 overall, 1999) and Zack Greinke (No. 6, 2002) have recently proven to be.

But for every player that has successfully made such a climb, dozens haven’t panned out.

Since 1970, the Pirates have taken a high school pitcher with their first-round pick six times. Only two of those arms – Rod Scurry (No. 11, 1974) and Sean Burnett (No. 19, 2000) – ever made it to the Majors, and both of those pitchers made their mark as middle relievers. However, the Pirates have never selected a high school pitcher as high as they drafted Taillon with that second overall pick.

Taillon is represented by the Hendricks Brothers, and negotiations are not likely to be as simple as they were with first-round choice Tony Sanchez last season. The Pirates will have to go well over slot (approximately $3.5 million) to get Taillon signed, and it might take until up to the Aug. 16 midnight deadline to do so. Those negotiations are expected to begin immediately.

The Pirates will not make another Day 1 Draft selection, but they will have another 49 coming as the Draft continues on Tuesday (rounds 2-30) and Wednesday (rounds 31-50).

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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