CHICAGO -- Jameson Taillon, the organization's top prospect, will begin the season in extended Spring Training rather than with Class A West Virginia, as had previously been discussed.
The decision to keep Taillon in Florida a while longer has nothing to do with concerns about the right-hander's ability to compete at the low-A level. Rather, the Pirates are limited in the number of innings Taillon will be able to pitch this year and would prefer that he not hit that innings threshold before the season ends.
"We're going to keep him in a controlled environment and slowly stretch him out," general manager Neal Huntington said. "That way he can hopefully still be able to pitch at the end of the West Virginia season and have some innings left in him for instructional league. It's all about the innings."
Taillon lost two months of mound time last summer while negotiating his signing bonus after he was taken as the No. 2 overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft. As a result, Taillon threw significantly fewer innings in 2010 than he had in 2009. That 2010 workload directly affects how many innings Taillon can log this season.
The Pirates' decision to be conservative with Taillon also allows the right-hander to make up for the little bit of time he lost earlier in camp when he took a ball off his foot.
The Pirates have already internally mapped out when they plan to promote Taillon to West Virginia, though Huntington did not divulge that timeframe. Once he gets to West Virginia, Taillon is expected to pitch every fifth day in the Power's rotation.
Right-hander Stetson Allie, the Pirates' second-round Draft pick last year, will also remain in extended Spring Training to start the year. The Pirates will have to monitor Allie's workload in much the same way that they will Taillon's.