Pittsburgh Pirates top prospect Jameson Taillon had his work cut out for him Sunday afternoon in the World Baseball Classic as he took the hill for Team Canada against Team USA.
It would have been understandable for Taillon to be a bit nervous or a bit erratic facing a must-win game against a United States lineup filled with proven major league players.
But after four innings of work, Taillon not only impressed, but it was clear that he looked much more like a major league pitcher than a pitcher ticketed for Double-A to start the season.
Taillon threw four innings and allowed only four hits and one unearned run. He also struck out three and walked only one.
He was efficient as well, throwing only 52 pitches in his four innings of work, including 34 for strikes, showing that plus fastball with his advertised sharp breaking curveball.
Taillon also was impressive in pitching out of a tight jam in the second inning, after an error put him in a very tough spot.
While Gerrit Cole is considered the top prospect in the Pirates organization, Taillon showed that he isn’t far behind and drew some compliments from Team USA hitters, including the Baltimore Orioles Adam Jones.
Adam Jones on Jameson Taillon: “He’s got a bright future.” @mlbonfox
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) March 11, 2013
Taillon was also impressive in his only other spring outing this season, tossing two scoreless innings for the Bucs, allowing only one hit and an unearned run.
None of this will change where Taillon will begin the season though.
While he did look like a major league pitcher on Sunday, he won’t make the Opening Day roster.
But his performance was encouraging and showed a glimpse into why the Pirate future is so bright.
Taillon may have not pitched Team Canada into the next round of the WBC, but what he showed is that maybe one day soon he will be able to help the Bucs achieve much better things.