A Look At The Minors: Pitchers (A)

Top 3 Prospects

1. Jameson Taillon

2. Colton Cain

3. Zach Von Rosenberg

Notable: Brooks Pounders, Zack Dodson, Zachary Fuesser

Jameson Taillon

I don’t think Taillon needs much of an introduction. He is unamiously considered the Pirates top prospect (at least until Monday when Cole signs) and is one of the best pitching prospects in the game. He is the complete package, Taillon has an upper 90s fastball, a devastating curve ball and two additional pitches in a slider and a changeup. He may be just a high school pitcher but he has the maturity of a college pitcher. Taillon has the ability to move throught the system quickly and although some people are disappointed he has spent the entire season in A ball it really should not hurt his development. Taillon could still arrive some time in 2013. He has had his struggles this season but they are almost all centered around keeping his fastball high in the zone. If he is able to improve his fastball command and keep it low in the zone he has the potential to be an ace.

April: 4.50 ERA, 2.500 WHIP, 0.00 SO/BB (only 1 start)

May: 3.00 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 12.00 SO/BB

June: 2.70 ERA, 0.780 WHIP, 9.72 SO/9 (0 BB in June)

July: 6.75 ERA, 1.650 WHIP, 4.17 SO/BB

Colton Cain

Cain is one of the many high upside high school pitching prospects the Pirates drafted in the 2009 draft. He was taken in the 8th round, signed for 1.125 M and is considered to have one of the highest upsides of  all the pitchers.  So far he has been the best performer of all the pitchers taken that year. Cain throws a mid 90s fastball and compliments it with a decent curve and a work in progress change up. He has a lot of development left in front of him but has shown nothing but positive signs so far in his carrer. Cain ranked below Von Rosenberg coming into the season but due to thier performances so far this season it is safe to assume Cain as vaulted him and should easily be amongst the Pirates top 10 prospects headed into next season.

April: 4.58 ERA, 1.302 WHIP, 3.50 SO/BB

May: 2.78 ERA, 0.866 WHIP, 2.80 SO/BB

June: 2.17 ERA, 0.931 WHIP, 2.71 SO/BB

July: 4.58 ERA, 1.585 WHIP, 1.75 SO/BB

Zack Von Rosenberg

Rosenberg’s story is very similar to Cain’s. He was drafted in the 6th round of the 2009 draft and signed an overslot deal for 1.2 million. He is considered to have the most upside of all of the pitchers taken that season but has slipped on the prospect status some this year becauseof a poor performance. Von Rosenberg is still probably a borderline top 10 prospect. As of now Von Rosenberg’s fastball is only in the low 90s but he projects to add velocity. He also has a good arsenal supporting his fastball in a curveball and a changeup. Since he came right out of high school he has a lot of development ahead of him so his struggles this season are not a huge concern.

April: 6.41 ERA, 1.627 WHIP, 3.33 SO/BB

May: 8.49 ERA, 1.371 WHIP, 4.25 SO/BB

June: 5.40 ERA, 1.320 WHIP, 7.33 SO/BB

July: 6.15 ERA, 1.253 WHIP, 11.50 SO/BB

Brooks Pounders

Yet another high school arm taken early in the 2009 draft, Pounders was selected in the 2nd round. He also fits the Pirates mold of drafting 6′ 4″ pitchers with projectable frames. Currently his fastball sits around 90 mph although he could add velocity to it as he matures. Pounders is working on some breaking pitches but his best compliment to his fastball is his changeup. Pounders profiles best as a bullpen pitcher and has pitched in that role for the majority of his carreer making only 9 starts to date so far. Pounders doesn’t have the upside of a Cain or Von Rosenberg but he still has the making of a potential back of the bullpen arm. He has put up pretty decent numbers so far in his pro career and should move up to A+ next season.

April: 2.25 ERA, 0.917 WHIP, 18.00 SO/BB

May: 2.92 ERA, 1.054 WHIP, 3.25 SO/BB

June: 5.91 ERA, 1.313 WHIP, 7.00 SO/BB

July: 4.82 ERA, 1.071 WHIP, 7.00 SO/BB

Zack Dodson

I think I might have noticed a theme here. You will never guess what year Dodson was drafted. Man thats right, 2009 out of high school and he signed for 600K. Dodson is shorter at 6′ 2″ but he has the projectable frame the Pirates seem to love. He currently throws his fastball around 90 but projects to add velocity. He also has a good curveball and has a changeup that is a work in progress. Dodson like many of the other pitchers has a long ways to go in his development so his future remains very uncertain. So far this season Dodson has pitched well but he has seen limited action (due to injuries).

April: 3.75 ERA, 1.333 WHIP, 2.33 SO/BB

May: 1.69 ERA, 1.219 WHIP, 9.00 SO/BB

June: Did Not Pitch

July: Did Not Pitch

Zachary Fuesser

Basically just repeat the stories of above. Fuesser was drafted in the 34th round of the 2009 draft and signed an over-slot deal for 125K. Unlike the others he was drafted out of college rather than high school but it was his first year at a community college so he is basically the same age as the high school players. Fuesser also differs from the rest as he is a left hander and the rest are right handers. Some scouts believe he profiles as not much more than a LOOGY but he does have some upside. Fuesser projects to end up in the bullpen in the future but has been used in a swing role this season. His stuff is average with a high 80s fastball and a good curve and change. Coming out of college his control was an issue but he has shown good signs of improvement in that area.

April: 1.69 ERA, 1.250 WHIP, 3.60 SO/BB

May: 3.32 ERA, 1.579 WHIP, 1.89 SO/BB

June: 0.60 ERA, 0.667 WHIP, 5.5 SO/BB

July: 4.91 ERA, 1.212 WHIP, 3.44 SO/BB

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