Too often do we over-analyze and reach conclusions based on misguided perceptions. Regardless, the perception around baseball is that the Pittsburgh Pirates now have the best trio of pitching prospects in all of baseball with Jameson Taillon, Gerrit Cole and Mark Appel.
Taillon—the second overall selection in 2010 by the Pittsburgh Pirates—is a right-handed pitcher with a fastball that consistently sits in between 94 to 96 mph. Long forgotten from the 2010 MLB draft after being selected behind Washington Nationals star outfielder Bryce Harper, Taillon is equipped with a great curve when he is confident. If not, he has shown a likelihood of avoiding his classic curveball.
Taillon has a large frame and appears to be built for 200 or more innings on an annual basis. His command projects to that of a Roy Halladay. While I hate comparisons, it had to be said because Taillon has thus far shown a propensity to paint the corners.
Meanwhile, Gerrit Cole—the first overall selection in the 2011 MLB Draft—is highly regarded as the top prospect in the Pirates' organization. A righty with a fastball that sits in the 94-97 mph range, Cole also possesses a sharp slider that will easily make batters miss as he progresses through each level of the Pirates' farm system.
Altogether, Cole has a high ceiling and is a bit more polished than Taillon. He needs to revamp his changeup into a more deceitful pitch, however.
The Pirates' first pick in the 2012 MLB draft was Mark Appel. Selected eighth overall, many scouts and pundits alike believed that Appel should have been the first pick overall in the draft. With new rules concerning contract allotments and what not, Appel slid into the hands of the Pirates.
Another right-handed pitcher, Appel has a threatening frame that when compared to his history at Stanford, looks capable of being a workhorse in the Show. On the other hand, Appel doesn't appear to be too happy that he fell into the lap of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Whether he likes it or not, he has joined what has become a great trio of young pitching prospects.
Until the Appel selection, a wide array of pundits and media personalities alike believed that the Seattle Mariners had the best trio of young arms in their farm system. With Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker, the M's may still have the most formidable trio for the immediate future, but the Pirates have a trio that looks capable to match that of what John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux once did in Atlanta.
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