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Will Jameson Taillon Buck His Commitment To Rice?

Mike SalernoCorrespondent IMay 9, 2010

(Photo courtesy of JamesonTaillon.com)

Jameson Taillon is going to have quite a decision to make after this June's MLB draft.

Taillon, who is expected by many to be the first right-handed pitcher taken in the draft, will be looking at a signing bonus worth millions. However, the 18-year-old phenom from The Woodlands High School in Texas, has been a verbal commitment to the Rice Owls since his junior year.

Rice baseball head coach Wayne Graham says he's keeping his fingers crossed, even though many doubt they'll be able to actually sign Taillon:

“Obviously, there’s one player on there that nobody thinks we’ll be able to keep,” said Graham. “Too bad he’s so good,” said Graham, laughing. “We’ll have our fingers crossed until August 15th.” 

In addition to his blazing fastball, which is consistently clocked from 94-97 mph and can reach 99, Taillon also has brilliant command of a "spiked curve," that comes in from 82-84 mph, a slider that sits between 85 and 90 mph, and a changeup that will come in around 80-82 mph, according to Taillon himself.

Look no further than the kid's personal website—http://www.jamesontaillon.info/ — for an unbiased description of his arsenal: "Plus Fastball, Plus Curveball, Plus Slider, and Great Change-Up." Had Bryce Harper not enabled himself to be draft-eligible, Taillon may have been taken first overall by the Washington Nationals , giving the team quite a duo of right-handed pitching prospects with 2009 first-overall pick Stephen Strasburg.

Taillon hasn't given any indication that he is going to sign with the Major League club that selects him, but said in an interview with Jeff Sullivan of 2010 MLB Draft Blog that his college decision was never really in question:

"I have always had a twinkle in my eye for Rice. Rice University is 45 minutes from my house, they have a great baseball program with a winning tradition, first class coaches, facilities that are second to none, and incredible academics..." Taillon said. "...I got a lot of letters and invitations to attend practices and games from schools like Texas, North Carolina, Vanderbilt and LSU. However, there was no doubt in my mind I wanted to be a Rice Owl." 

 

Many MLB mock draft experts, including RivalsHigh's own Dallas Jackson have Taillon going third to the Baltimore Orioles. However, if the Orioles are to retain Taillon, it may take much more than the $3.2 million it took to sign 2008 first-round pick Brian Matusz, who is now a staple of the O's starting rotation.

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