Taillon, who checked in at No. 11 on the Midseason Top 50, has continued his steady ascent since the Pirates drafted him with the second overall pick three years ago. The 21-year-old can sit in the mid-90s and touch 99 mph with his four-seamer or sacrifice a little velocity for more life with his two-seamer to get groundballs. He was effective at Double-A Altoona, where he finished with a 3.67 ERA in 110 1/3 innings with 8.7 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9.
Taillon could follow in the path set this season by Gerrit Cole, although Taillon has a chance to move a little faster. Cole made one Triple-A start in 2012, then opened this season as a 22-year-old in Triple-A and stayed there until the Pirates called him up to the big leagues for a June 11 debut.
The Pirates could put Taillon on the same track by having him open 2014 in Triple-A and then calling him up in June, but they might also be tempted to bring him up down the stretch this year as a reliever like the Rays did with David Price in 2008.
Taillon isn’t on the 40-man roster yet and he doesn’t have to be placed on the 40-man until after next season, but if Jason Grilli ends up missing the rest of the season, having Taillon throwing upper-90s heat out of the bullpen is an option they have to consider.