Taken with the No. 2 pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Taillon was recently named by MLB.com as the sixth-best right-handed pitching prospect in baseball. And on Tuesday night, the 19-year-old earned a spot on MLB.com's Top 50 Prospects list.
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo revealed the list on MLB Network, and Taillon came in at No. 18. Angels outfielder Mike Trout claimed the top spot in the rankings. None of the Pirates' other prospects made the cut.
The Pirates drafted Taillon out of The Woodlands High School in Texas last June and gave him the highest signing bonus in organizational history at $6.5 million. Because negotiations dragged into mid-August, Taillon was not able to pitch in the Minors last season. He participated in the Pirates' fall instructional league and was a recent attendee at the Pirates' January mini-camp.
Taillon will probably start the 2011 season in low-A West Virginia, where he will begin his much-anticipated climb through the system. His Major League debut is likely a few years away, but Taillon was unanimously regarded as the best high school pitcher in last year's Draft, and his stock is high.
The 6-foot-6, 225-pound right-hander already has a solid three-pitch repertoire, and the Pirates envision him as a top-of-the-rotation starter in the future. Taillon's fastball sat in the mid- to upper-90s during his senior year of high school. His curveball and slider have already developed into quality secondary pitches.
Taillon finished his high school career by going 8-1 with a 1.78 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings. He passed on a scholarship to Rice University to sign with the Pirates, who hadn't used their first-round Draft pick on a high school player since 2005.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.