Found April 20, 2013 on Pirates Prospects:
Has Jameson Taillon passed Gerrit Cole? Spoiler alert: Before I begin, I’m not going to answer the question of which prospect between Gerrit Cole or Jameson Taillon is better. I think that no matter which side you pick, you’re going to be splitting hairs. I’ll also take the cheap way out, and point out that it’s a good problem to have to debate which top pitching prospect is the better option. I’ve been getting comments asking if Jameson Taillon is now ahead of Cole due to his strong start. I wanted to review a few things about each player, and look at a few of the key comparison points, mostly to show that it’s probably too early to make any decision. Let’s begin with Taillon. Jameson Taillon Jameson Taillon is off to a great start this year. He has given up two earned runs in 18 innings, with a 20:7 K/BB ratio. Those are dominant numbers, and they only follow up on Taillon’s start with Altoona last year where he had three earned runs in 17 innings, with an 18:1 K/BB ratio. Overall, Taillon had a 1.29 ERA in 35 innings in Double-A, with a 38:8 K/BB ratio. Before you start asking when he’ll be promoted to Indianapolis, keep this in mind: Taillon also had a strong start last year with Bradenton. In his first seven starts he gave up just six earned runs in 36.2 innings, with a 36:7 K/BB ratio. That spanned through May 10th. The same “when is he going to be called up” questions came up then. But Taillon followed that up with a few horrible starts in the middle of the season. It should be noted that he turned things around in the second half in Bradenton. Taillon finished strong at the level, and looked great in Altoona at the end of the year. I’m not sure that makes his situation now any different than last year. In 2011 he didn’t have the greatest numbers, and he started off with dominant results in 2012. If 2012 taught us anything, it’s that we shouldn’t rush to promote anyone, or even make long-term judgements based on short-term results. John Eshleman covered Taillon’s start on Wednesday, and noted that while he looked good, there were still some things to work on. Taillon had a few innings where he didn’t have his command, and left a few pitches up. Those types of mistakes can hurt you in the upper levels, so that should be a focus for the young pitcher. Gerrit Cole Cole isn’t off to the best start this year. In his first two outings he combined for six innings total, after being pulled both times early for a high pitch count. He came back with a better outing in his last start, but it wasn’t great. He gave up one run in 6.1 innings, but had four walks in the process. Cole has had problems putting hitters away, and has also dealt with some control issues. The control was a problem towards the end of his time with Altoona, but the Pirates moved him up. We’re not talking Andy Oliver-level control issues, but Cole has been prone to high walk totals like we saw on Tuesday. One thing to consider with Cole is that he has started slow in each level. In fact, last year when Taillon was off to a hot start in Bradenton, Cole was off to a slow start at the same level. In Cole’s first four starts, he combined for 9 earned runs in 17 innings. After that he settled down, and got promoted by mid-season. In his first six starts with Altoona, Cole allowed 14 runs in 26 innings. He didn’t spend as much time with Altoona as he did with Bradenton, but the run count in the other starts was good. This is another case where we’ve learned in the past not to make long-term judgements based on short-term results. The Comparison This is the point where I say that you’re splitting hairs when you’re trying to determine who is better between Cole and Taillon. Coming into the season, Cole was universally considered better, but I don’t think the gap was huge. If Taillon’s early season success has done anything, it has shown that the gap between the two isn’t that big at all. If you are ranking them, then they are basically 1a and 1b. Aside from the disclaimer that we’re talking about a small sample of stats, I think you also have to consider the situations. Taillon is playing at a level below Cole, which means you can’t view their numbers in the same light. Then there’s the history to consider. We’ve seen Taillon go through dominant stretches before. While the hope is that he’s figured it out now, I don’t think that should be the assumption. Cole has a history of starting slow at a new level, and he’s still in that slow starting window at the Triple-A level. I’m not making a case for either guy here. I feel both are talented pitchers, and I’ve felt that the gap between them isn’t as big as it appears in the national rankings, where Taillon is usually about 8-10 spots lower than Cole. So I think if anything, Taillon is just showing more people that he’s just as good as Cole. Overall I’m just saying that any decision or opinion on either player, whether it’s the decision to promote them, how to grade their skills, or the opinion on who is better, should be made with a larger sample of data. Oh, and I’m also saying that debating between which pitching prospect is better is a great problem to have. Links and Notes **The 2013 Prospect Guide and the 2013 Annual are both available on the products page of the site. If you order them together, you’ll save $5. Prospects **Prospect Watch: Andy Oliver and the West Virginia Offense Go Heavy on the Strikeouts. **Minor League Schedule: 4/20/13. **Prospect Trends: Some Fast Starts for West Virginia Hitters. **Prospect Notebook: Looking Deeper at Another Group of Breakout Players in West Virginia. **Pirates Release Alex Valdez. **Draft Prospect Watch: Gray Dominant, Bryant Homers. Pirates **Pirates Pregame: Marte Gets the Day Off. **Video: Wandy Rodriguez Postgame. **From Thursday: Morton Shows Good Stuff in Rehab Start; Still Has Things to Iron Out.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Pirates Win Thanks to an Improved McDonald and Strong Lineup Construction

James McDonald struck out nine batters tonight. Photo by Mark Olson Tonight wasn’t the type of game you’d normally expect the Pirates to win. It’s not the type of matchup you’d expect any team to win. On one side you had the best team in baseball, with a pitcher who entered the game with 20.1 shutout innings to start the season. On the other side you had a team that has been...

Minor League Schedule: 4/21/13

Top prospect Gerrit Cole will get his fourth start of the season today, hoping to build off his first solid outing of the 2013 season. Altoona played a doubleheader last night, making up a Friday rainout. Francisco Liriano made his second rehab start in the first game. For a look at the possible starters over the next few weeks, please check out our Probable Pitchers Chart. We have...

Video: Wandy Rodriguez Postgame

Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Wandy Rodriguez speaks to the media (through Heberto Andrade, who is usually a bullpen catcher for the club but serves as an interpreter here) about what made him successful in Pittsburgh’s 6-0 win against Atlanta on Friday.  

Pirates Release Alex Valdez

The Pirates have released Alex Valdez. The Pittsburgh Pirates have released infielder Alex Valdez, Pirates Prospects has learned. Valdez was signed over the off-season as a minor league free agent after spending a year in the Mexican league. He played a lot of shortstop in Spring Training, playing for the Triple-A squad. Valdez showed off a great glove, but didn’t hit a lot, and...

Locke Struggles with Consistency in Pirates Loss

Prior to Thursday’s game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Atlanta Braves, Clint Hurdle talked about how the back end of the starting rotation knows there is competition on the way, and after Jeff Locke’s performance in a 6-4 Atlanta win the Pirates manager elaborated on just what it is Locke needs to improve on. Jeff Locke was tagged for three home runs against the Braves...

Video: Clint Hurdle on Evan Gattis; Pedro’s Home Run

Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle discusses Atlanta’s Evan Gattis and his eighth inning pinch-hit home run. Pedro Alvarez speaks to the media about his fourth inning home run, his first of the 2013 season.

Andrew McCutchen bobbles his head while holding his bobblehead (GIF)

On Saturday, April 20, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be giving out an Andrew McCutcheon bobblehead — referred to as “Clutch Bobblehead” in a nod to McCutcheon’s nickname — to the first 25,000 fans through the gates at PNC Park for the team’s game against the Atlanta Braves. The Andrew McCutcheon bobblehead features Rawlings Gold Glove and Louisville Silver Slugger awards...

Game 17 Preview: Pirates vs. Braves

Braves (13-3) at Pirates (8-8) 7:05 PM–PNC Park, Pittsburgh MLB.com Gameday TV: ROOT The Bucs go for two in a row against the Braves tonight at PNC. It’s Andrew McCutchen bobblehead night, so there should be a solid crowd (which is good, since there haven’t been any good crowds since the opener). A win would clinch a series split for the Bucs, which would be a very strong result...

Pirates 3, Braves 1

The Pirates are on the good side of .500 for the first time this season thanks to another rock-solid win over the Atlanta Braves. Saturday night’s victory featured more fantastic pitching and just enough offense to get the job done. James McDonald remains impossible to understand. One start after completely imploding and looking like he had no business starting in the major leagues...

Prospect Watch: 24.2 Shutout Innings From Taillon, Kingham, Kuchno, and Waldrop

TOP OF THE SYSTEM A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today.  Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. If a player is in the majors, he will be removed, everyone below him will be shifted up a spot, and a new player will be added to the bottom of the list. Rankings are from the pre-season rankings, and links to each prospect writeup can be...

Game 15: Braves 6 Pirates 4

For almost the entire night, the Pirates had to play catch up in this game against the Braves. For most of the game, they did just that. BJ Upton lead the game off with a home run, the Pirates tied it on a sac fly. After the Pirates took a 2-1 lead on a long Russell Martin home run, the Braves took a 3-2 lead on a Chris Johnson homer. The Pirates tied the game back up on a moster...

An old friend

When the Pirates play games like they did last night, with Wandy Rodriguez cruising on the mound and the defense clicking behind him and all sorts of guys coming up with big hit after big hit, it's actually sort of easy to watch them and think, "Seriously, this team could contend for a playoff spot." It's obviously early to talk about things like that when the team...

Prospect Watch: Bell Has a Big Day at the Plate, Cole Struggles With Control

TOP OF THE SYSTEM A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today.  Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. If a player is in the majors, he will be removed, everyone below him will be shifted up a spot, and a new player will be added to the bottom of the list. Rankings are from the pre-season rankings, and links to each prospect writeup can be...

Prospect Notebook: Zack Von Rosenberg Switches to a Two-Seam Fastball

Zack Von Rosenberg made the switch to a two-seam fastball this year. When Zack Von Rosenberg was drafted, the Pittsburgh Pirates didn’t have any ace pitching prospects. Jameson Taillon was a year away from being drafted. Luis Heredia was a year and a few months away from being signed. Gerrit Cole was two years away from being drafted. And the last time the Pirates had an ace in...

One day, two wins: Taillon, Lambo lead Curve to snap four-game skid

The Altoona Curve picked up two wins today against the Richmond Flying Squirrels at People’s Natural Gas Field. First, Andrew Lambo singled home Charlie Cutler in the 11th inning to end last night’s rain suspended game with a 2-1 victory. Then, Jameson Taillon threw seven shutout innings to pace the Curve to the second win of the day, with Lambo contributing again, this time...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.