The Pittsburgh Pirates were riding the high of a playoff appearance last season into 2014, but they were quickly brought down to earth due to an injury to Jameson Taillon.
Taillon, the Pirates' No. 2 prospect entering the year, was shut down in spring training with elbow problems. The Pirates reported that the right-hander had decided to undergo Tommy John surgery, which would keep him out for the entire MLB season:
Jameson Taillon has been diagnosed w/an injury to his ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow & has elected to have Tommy John Surgery— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) April 6, 2014
Now comes word from Tom Singer of MLB.com that Taillon had successful surgery on Wednesday in New York:
Jameson Taillon underwent his TJ surgery yesterday, by Dr. David Altchek in New York. All went well.— Tom Singer (@Tom_Singer) April 10, 2014
The second overall pick in the 2010 draft, after Bryce Harper, Taillon was on the cusp of playing in the big leagues this year. He made six starts at Triple-A Indianapolis at the end of 2013 and would have started the season there.
Losing Taillon for an entire year is a blow for the Pirates, who were likely counting on the 22-year-old to help fill the void in their rotation left by the departure of veteran A.J. Burnett. They still have quality depth in the rotation, starting with Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano, but it's not as deep as last year's group.
This is also a huge step back for Taillon. He was still learning to harness all his pitches and needed to work on commanding the fastball after allowing 143 hits and 52 walks in 147.1 innings last year.
Losing a full season of development at such a young age puts Taillon behind the eight ball heading into 2015, assuming his arm returns to the level it was at pre-surgery. Hopefully everything goes right because this is a special talent in one of baseball's best farm systems.
If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter.