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I began the day convinced the Pirates were going to draft "A-Rod Lite", SS Manny Machado, but by the end of Monday, I'm on board with their selection at #2 overall: RHP Jameson Taillon of The Woodlands HS in Texas.

Taillon goes 6'6"/235 pounds, has hit 98 on the radar gun, and already has four pitches in his repertoire. In his senior year at The Woodlands, Taillon was 9-1 with a 1.69 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings. I'd imagine he immediately becomes the Pirates' #1 pitching prospect in their organization the moment he signs.

Considering their past, I'm naturally scared of the Pirates taking a pitcher in the first round, especially a high-schooler. As I told one emailer today, "Should we just go ahead and book his appointment for Dr. Andrews a year from now?"

But that's just me being Cynical Blogger Guy. In all seriousness, I have to hand it to Nealer the Dealer...this pick took some cojones, given the price tag that will accompany Taillon and the fact that he's probably going to take a few years to develop. Rather than take the signable, closer-to-the-bigs-but-lower-ceiling college pitchers available, Huntington took an expensive roll of the dice on a player who's got an offer to Rice University as leverage. I suppose you're not supposed to be excited when a team does what it's supposed to do, but in this case, we've seen that happen a time or 10 in the past two decades Doing the right thing is a welcome, refreshing change-of-pace for fans of this organization.

Taillon is a client of the Hendricks brothers, not Scott Boras, if that makes you feel any better. But before you think that's like getting a .50 double coupon on this purchase, think again:
Hendricks has negotiated many record contracts, and his $28 million one year contract for Roger Clemens is the highest in the history of baseball. Recently, he negotiated a record $30.25 million contract for 21 year old Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman.
Going on past precedent, Dustin Ackley got $7.5 million guaranteed in 2009 at the #2 spot, and Pedro Alvarez squeezed $6.3 mil out of Team Nutting in 2008. So I'm guessing the Henrickses will want at least $8 million in hand for Taillon before they threaten the Pirates with Rice U.

It may takes some tense negotiating, but I think a deal ultimately gets done, as the Buccos use some of the millions socked away and earmarked for occasions like this over the years. Taillon gets paid, the Pirates get a legit pitching prospect, and fans get something for their continued investment (financially and emotionally) in the team. It's a win win win - a rarity for this organization.

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expectingrain said...

Great, Lift tickets at Laurel and Seven Springs are going up now for sure!

Steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve said...

The problem with this draft pick is the Pirates are probably the last team to get lucky with such a high risk prospect. There's probably a 5% chance of this kid making it to the major league in the next 4 years and being a bonafide starter for any team, let alone the Pirates, a team who could ruin even the Strasburgs of pitching prospects.

The Pirates need too much help at almost every position including pitching to take this kinda gamble. It's not like they don't need help at SS as well and couldn't have gotten a lower risk prospect who stands a better chance of contributing in Machado.

78Deville said...

Maybe I'm a little slow this morning, but how can this kid have an agent and still have NCAA eligibility? Are the rules for baseball different for those of football & basketball? Let's not forget DuJuan Blair and that he may have returned to school for another year had he not signed with an agent.

Charlie Hildbold said...

So when the Pirates over reach on someone they screwed up, but when they take the best available - by almost every person's count - they screwed up as well?

Steve its obvious you don't like the Pirates, we've seen this from everyone of your posts.

I don't agree with almost everything the Pirates do, its all very disappointing...but they have done well in the drafts the last 3 years.

I'm guessing if they had taken Machado you probably would've said: "why would they take a position player when there's such a good pitcher available!"

You're entitled to your opinion, but please just stop spewing hate for this team...some of are still baseball fans, and some of us will think this is a great draft pick.

Steve said...

I don't hate the Pirates Charlie, I'm not a fan of the ownership and starting to really dislike Huntington too and that's the difference between me and you...I'm rightfully tired of the B.S. and make no bones about it, while you and some others continue to search for nuggets of gold in it. I won't buy another ticket until there is new ownership and you no doubt get right in line.

Yes, I think the Pirates over-reached on this one and no I don't think he was the best available either. Maybe if the stars align and he defies all odds that may turn out to be true, but until then, he's simply the best High School pitcher available. Sorry, I'm not impressed because we all know his chances are still slim to none to make it at the big league level and that's the last thing the Pirates can afford right now. If he's still a top 20 prospect in 2 years then I may think more of it.

No, I would have been fine with Machado and I thought I kinda said that but since they didn't draft him, it's kinda pointless to expand on it. He was who I was hoping they'd take and I sure of hell wouldn't have condemmed then for it.

Your entitled to your opinion too and whether you, or I have different ones about a draft pick has nothing to do with being a baseball fan. Your comments may say something about you being a little too tightly wound though.

Spewing hate...really? Try decaf next time.

Nate said...

Basically every prospects analyst and draft expert said Taillon is the second best overall talent in the draft, and yet Pirates fans are mad that we took him.

78Deville, to answer your question about agents, the loophole is just to call them your "advisor" instead of your agent.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

I think this guy was the best available player and a solid pick.

They showed highlights of him and he was gassing guys. It wasn't that he was fanning HS kids that impressed me, it was the fact that the catcher was catching the ball almost at the backstop because he throws so hard.

The fact that he can hit 98-99 and already 2 offspeed pitches at 18 doesn't hurt, either.