With an off-day today, let’s take some time to cast our gaze to the future. (The future?) Yes, parenthetical voice in my head, the future! All the way to the year 2013!
Actually, I don’t know what’s going to happen in that year. I just want to take some time to run down how Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie, and Luis Heredia have been performing this year. Let’s start with last year’s #2 overall pick Taillon.
The Pirates are being very careful with Taillon right now. He didn’t pitch between June 14 and June 29, he hasn’t topped five innings in any start this year, and he hasn’t gone even four innings in either of his last two starts. That sort of caution is to be expected in Taillon’s first year of full-season ball, especially since he’s just a year removed from high school. It’s hard to say he’s been anything but excellent in the 49 1/3 innings he has pitched this year: he’s got 47 strikeouts and just six walks, his ERA is 2.74, and he’s only given up four homers among his 45 hits allowed. I’d guess that the Pirates will play it safe and leave him in West Virginia this year to build arm strength. If he keeps pitching well next year as he’s allowed to open his repertoire up a bit more, they’ll probably be more aggressive with him. Right now, though, he’s pitching great and he’s very young for the Sally League. The only thing that people may quibble with is the strikeouts being just a tad low, but given the way the Pirates handle young pitchers and their pitch selection that’s not something I’ve given much thought to this year. He’s having a great first year in the system.
A lot’s been made of Stetson Allie’s control problems, but he’s now made two very good starts in a row for the State College Spikes. After walking seven hitters in his first five innings, he’s walked just two in his last eight and he’s got 10 strikeouts in that span to boot. Obviously it’s early to make any kind of jugdments on what kind of year Allie’s having, but seeing him go four innings without control issues in two straight starts is really encouraging. Hopefully, it’s something he can sustain as State College’s season wears on.
As for the Pirates’ highest profile international signing, Luis Heredia, it’s obviously early to say anything. He’s not even 17 yet, but the Pirates gave him a huge vote of confidence by putting him in the GCL, where most of the players are two years older than him. He’s held his own so far: he’s made three short starts (6 2/3 innings total) and though he’s got some control issues (four walks), he’s only allowed one hit and two earned runs.
None of these guys are anywhere close to the Majors, but it’s awfully fun to have three really good prospects that there are good things to say about. And once we add Gerrit Cole to this group … next year could be a lot of fun for prospect watching.