Jameson Taillon's debut for the Indianapolis Indians at the Triple-A level on Monday night may have started off a bit shaky, but there was a lot to like despite a 6-4 loss to the Louisville Bats.
Taillon was drafted with the No. 2 overall selection in 2010, and at 21 years old, he is climbing his way up the ranks hoping to find a spot in the majors in the near future.
The big right-handed pitcher out of Texas made his first start for the Indians against the Bats and things started off well for Taillon. He struck out his first batter on four pitches, finishing him off with a nasty curve low and inside. With Taillon throwing his fastball 96-97 miles per hour, things were looking very promising for the young prospect.
Unfortunately, things quickly became difficult for him after that. Taillon walked the next batter, hit the next man up on the first pitch then walked another to load the bases with just one out. That brought up Louisville's Mike Hessman, who lined the first pitch to him into left-center field for a three-run double.
With the damage done, Taillon finished the inning by striking out the last two batters.
Taillon settled down after that. He took some heat off of his fastball, throwing it around 93-95 mph, and found his command. He had a one-two-three inning in the second and allowed just two more hits before leaving after five innings.
Although the loss went to Taillon, there was a lot to like about his game. Besides giving up just three hits over five innings, he allowed three earned runs, three walks and had five strikeouts. He threw 79 pitches in the game with 46 for strikes.
Taillon's fastball looked nice for most of the night, showing some velocity and good movement. However, he had trouble putting the pitch over the plate with some command issues that were a bit concerning.
On the other hand, his curveball was working all game. It had hitters looking lost and featured some incredible late break on it that even made Ryan Ludwick look silly at the plate.
Taillon's struggles in the first inning reminded many of Cole in his first start for the Indians. Back in September of 2012, Cole went six innings, giving up three early runs and taking the loss despite settling down for the rest of the game. He allowed six hits and struck out seven in his Indians debut.
This was just one start at the Triple-A level, but there some things to like about Taillon's first outing. The curveball is there and his fastball is certainly a plus-pitch when he doesn't overthrow.
Pirates fans should be excited for the future, because Taillon and Cole could become big names relatively soon.