Texas Rangers targets: 2. Jameson Taillon, Age 31: 177.1 IP, 3.91 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 151 Ks in 2022
Jameson Taillon has been through the wringer during his professional career. He had two Tommy John surgeries (2014 and 2019) and battled testicular cancer in the middle of it all in 2017. After missing 2020 recovering from his second arm surgery, Taillon became a solid middle-of-the-rotation option for the Yankees in 2021 and 2022, winning 22 of his 33 decisions and posting ERAs of 4.30 and 3.91, respectively.
Like Anderson, Taillon was great at limiting baserunners, with a BB/9% in the 94th percentile (4.4), the best since his rookie year with the Pirates in 2016. Also like Anderson, he was strong in GB% (40.1%, 30th) and FB% (39.3%, 17th). But a big difference between the two is the park they call home.
Yankee Stadium’s right field is a mere 310 ft to the right field foul pole, so opposing teams stock their lineups with lefties when they visit the Bronx. Taillon suffered because of it. Globe Life Field is much more pitcher-friendly, as it is ranked 19th in park factor.
Taillon relied heavily on an effective sinker early in his career, throwing it 42.1% of the time. But after his second surgery, it was time for a change. Now, he throws his sinker just 5.5% of the time and relies heavily on the fastball, throwing it 35.5% of the time.
That fastball averages 94.1 mph, and it’s in the 85th percentile in spin rate (2,370 rpm). Taillon’s curveball is also a plus pitch that keeps hitters off balance. In 2022, Taillon’s curve registered a .161 BA, .228 SLG, and a 32% Whiff%.
Taillon has also gone over 3 BB/9 just once in his six-year career and had a 1.62 BB/9 in 2022, seventh in the MLB.
Taillon has flown under the radar in the starting pitcher market. I would put him in the Top 10, though I know his injury history might make teams hesitant about him. He is projected to receive an AAV of $14 million for two-to-three years, which is fair for a 31-year-old with his sustained success.