He is 6’6” and 225 pounds and throws a fastball that has touched 99 miles per hour. He fanned 19 this season during a seven-inning no-hitter. He struck out 16 Cuban batters over seven innings last summer at the Pan American Junior Championships.
He is just 18 years old. Oh yeah, and he could be the Orioles selection with the third pick in the First-Year Player Draft next Monday.
He is Jameson Taillon, a right-handed pitcher from the Woodlands High School in Texas.
Very few know the draft, especially its top players, better than Jim Callis of Baseball America. He feels the Pirates, picking right ahead of the Orioles, are unlikely to take a high school pitcher and that Taillon should be there when the O’s pick comes up.
“I think everyone expects that (Bryce) Harper will go number one. Then I think the Orioles are just waiting to see what the Pirates do. The Pirates could go (Manny) Machado. They could go Taillon. They were interested in Drew Pomeranz earlier and he bounced back in the SEC tournament.
“The Orioles are sitting in a nice position where they could get Taillon or Machado. Either way they are going to get a very good player.
“I think there is a clear top three of Harper, Taillon and Machado. So the Orioles picked a good year to be picking three. Pomeranz is probably close to that group, but I think most think those are the top three guys. It’s a great year to be picking three.
“The Pirates were on Pomeranz earlier. It’s possible they take him and the Orioles have their pick between Machado and Taillon. I don’t think the Pirates will take a high school pitcher,” Callis said.
With the Orioles offense struggling and the O’s minors stocked more with pitchers than hitters, I asked Callis if the O’s should take a college hitter with the third pick, even if one is not projected to go that high.
“Not at all. If you are picking three and you’re the leading contender to pick one the following year, you are there for a reason. It’s not because you are popular. It’s because your team stinks.
“You are not going to get any better by getting a guy to the big leagues quicker, you’ll get better by getting the best player you can possibly get. Andy MacPhail has been around a long time and Joe Jordan is a good scouting director. I don’t think they will fall prey to that. I don’t see how you can pass on one of the high school kids for any of the college players in this draft.”
Callis said it would be a reach for the Orioles to take a college hitter with the third pick.
“No, it’s a bad year for college position guys. The best college bats are probably Zack Cox at Arkansas, Michael Choice from Texas-Arlington or Yasmani Grandal of Miami. Picking those guys at three would be a big stretch.
“Let’s say you took the best college bat out there, which in my mind is Zack Cox of Arkansas. Realistically he is at least two years away from the big leagues. So it’s not like he is going to ride in a horse tomorrow and lead the Orioles to the top of the AL East. In the AL East, you can’t be making short-term solutions just to appease your fans.”
Over the next day or so I’ll publish more with Jim Callis of Baseball America.
In part two he provides his personal scouting report on Jameson Taillon
In part three he talks about O’s drafting under scouting director Joe Jordan and the Orioles draft budgets.