Pirates Prospect Interview: Jameson Taillon

Prized Pirates pitching prospect Jameson Taillon is a combined 5-8 with a 3.68 ERA at Double A Altoona and Triple A Indianapolis. PiratesDugout.com caught up with the 21-year old right-hander recently.

PD – You have moved up to Triple A Indianapolis from Double A Altoona, talk about your progress as a pitcher in the Pirates system?

JT – If I look back even to 2010 when I first signed and went to instructional league and 2011 my first full season at West Virginia, I watch video and watch myself pitch and just think in my head about what I was like pitching back then, I can't believe that was me and I was still good back then, but I just feel every year I've made a lot of progress. It's probably 50-50 physical and mental progress. I had to get into a good routine physically, weight room, arm care all that, diet. I got into a good routine with that, so that's the physical part, but a lot of it is mental. Learning how to pitch, learning how to set up hitters, learning how to watch video. It's still tough, I don't think there's a big league pitcher that's going to say they have it figured out. The whole setting up hitters part and learning how to use your arsenal, that's a tough part, but I've come a really long way with it.

PD – Describe the arsenal of pitches you use?

JT – 94-96 on the fastball and it will top out at 98-99. I throw a two-seam that's like 93-94. That's a ground ball pitch an 0-0 pitch or a 1-0 pitch behind in the count to put guys on the ground, it's a pitch I can be free with and throw with confidence and don't have to be too perfect with it. Starting to work my change up more and starting to work in my curve ball more and I'm learning exactly when to use it and who to throw it to.

PD – You have faced some adversity including giving up 10 runs at Altoona, how have you handled the rough patches?

JT – I gave up 10 runs and that has never happened before, not even close, I think maybe in pro ball the most I've given up is like six or seven. I started off with some weird plays, ground balls found holes, then I started getting rocked. That was the toughest lesson I've ever had to learn, I've never had anything like that happen. Coming off of that it's tough to rebound from, but I came to the park the next day and just got over it. I was up late thinking about it, but you can't do anything about it and maybe it was a blessing, because it kind of restarted some things mentally and I really got after it between starts.

PD – It is a work in progress, developing as a pitcher, not a thrower.

JT – In high school, I could just kind of rear back and throw it by guys. As long as it was a strike, it was good for me because they weren't going to hit it. (In pro ball), you have to learn to throw quality strikes with your fastball. You have to learn to mix in your curve ball as you go up along with your change-up, along with learning when to throw it against some really good guys.

PD Now at Triple A Indianapolis you are facing a different level of hitters, the learning curve continues – correct?

JT – Every level, you go up, you get away with less and less. Maybe in A ball, I could get away with out-stuffing guys once in awhile. Up here, you might get away with that some, but you won't get away with it much. It's learning how to pitch, learning how to set up guys and attacking them.

PD – Talk about the pressure that goes with being such a high draft pick?

JT – Whenever you are 18 and you get thrown into that, I guess all the publicity and all hype that comes with it at first I won't say I was ready for it, but you kind of have to learn how to embrace it the right way. So at first it could be a little overwhelming. I'd see myself on a magazine cover and kind of think to myself is that really me? Now it more of you have to embrace it and you have to have fun with it, you can't hide it, you get picked where you are and you can't change it. It was a tough lesson to learn, but I'm finally there.

PD – Any timetable for getting to the big leagues?

JT – The hitters are older up here. Most have big league time. It's good competition to get used to their approaches and the kind of chess game that goes into pitching up here. I hope to be in Pittsburgh soon.

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