After acquiring him in a January 24th trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates, pitcher Jameson Taillon is set to make his New York Yankee debut on Wednesday. Taillon, 29, battled injuries during his time with Pittsburgh but is looking for a fresh start in New York.
Since making his debut in 2016, Taillon has made 82 starts and pitched to a 3.67 ERA. Between two Tommy John surgeries and a bout with testicular cancer, Taillon has remained completely healthy once, and that season was spectacular. Making 32 starts in 2018, Taillon had a 3.20 ERA over 191 innings with a 1.178 WHIP and a 3.46 FIP. The Yankees saw what Taillon can do when healthy, and it was the main reason why the team had so much interest in him this winter.
Taillon isn’t a huge strikeout pitcher but is still extremely effective regardless. Nearly half of his outs come via the groundball, and just 31% of balls are “hard hit” by batters. Topping off at around 95 mph, Taillon threw his fastball nearly 47% of the time in 2019, a number that has decreased with age. Taillon also adds a curveball, a changeup, and a slider as of 2018.
For what he’s gone through with another Tommy John surgery, Taillon’s Spring Training was extremely impressive. In 8.1 innings, he gave up just one run off nine hits. He struck out 14 and walked four.
Yankee fans are, of course, going to have high expectations for the right-hander. As great as it’d be for Taillon to throw a gem in his debut, we need to focus on the positives from each start. He hasn’t pitched in an MLB game in nearly two years, so it’ll take some time for him to get all of his stuff back. Although he pitched well in Spring Training, it’s a whole other world pitching in an MLB game.
Hopefully, Taillon will turn some heads in his first Yankee start tomorrow, but the important thing is to continue building him up and preparing for the long haul.