Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Jameson Taillon Debuts

When I happened to come upon tickets for tonight's Pirate-Mets game (and thank you for that, Mike Muro!) last week, little did I realize just what the significance of tonight's game would be.  If you've been sleeping for the last 24 hours and haven't heard, Jameson Taillon will make his debut for the Pirates tonight, starting against Mets ace Noah Syndergaard.

It has been a long road for Taillon since he was the second overall selection in the MLB Entry Draft in 2010.  Tommy John surgery cost him the 2014 season, and surgery for a sports hernia cost him the 2015 season, but he has continued to work hard throughout, and has been lights out in Triple-A this season, and now his time has come.  Reading Taillon's comments in the paper this morning, I was struck by his maturity.  "This wasn't the path I envisioned, but it was that hand that I was dealt, so I've worked within it."  Says a lot about the kids mental make-up.

I looked up who else went in the first round of that 2010 draft, and lots of guys have already made their marks in MBL:  Bryce Harper, who was selected ahead of Taillon, has won an MVP Award, and here are some of the others:  Manny Machado, Chris Sale, Matt Harvey, and Christian Yelich.  And while it may seem that it has taken forever for Taillon the get to the PNC Park mound, keep in mind this little factoid: Taillon is fourteen months younger than Gerrit Cole.

In the post-game interview last night, Robbie Inchimikowski (who will never be confused with Edward R. Murrow) asked Mark Melancon his thoughts on Taillon's arrival.  Melancon said "I can't wait.  He's an absolute stud."  This was in contrast to Neal Huntington's comments in the paper this morning that this call-up is to address a pitching emergency, there's no guarantee that Taillon is here to stay, it still might be too early and yada yada yada.  Maybe NH is trying to tamp down expectations in an effort to take pressure off of the kid, but this just continues an old habit of Huntington's of taking an event that should be a cause for excitement and throwing a big wet blanket on it.

It won't be slam dunk for Taillon and the Pirates tonight.  They are up against the defending NL Pennant winner and one of the best pitchers in baseball in Syndergaard, but why not go up against the best in your debut?  I am hopeful that this will be the start of a long and successful career for Taillon, and if it is, I will be able to say that "I was there" for the beginning.

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