On Friday, it was reported by multiple outlets that Jameson Taillon was promoted to AAA Indianapolis. Immediately after the announcement, there was speculation that Taillon could join the major league club in September for the final push before the playoffs.

It’s not crazy to think Taillon could be in Pittsburgh before the end of this season. The Tampa Bay Rays promoted David Price to AAA Durham on August 10th of 2008. He would pitch in the majors a month later and ended up tossing 3 1/3 innings in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Armed with a high-90s fastball, a devastating curveball, a wicked slider, and a change up that is developing into a plus pitch, Taillon certainly has the talent to pitch in the majors. With that said, it would be somewhat surprising if he made his big league debut before the 2014 season.

The problem is, Taillon hasn’t dominated through the minor league ranks, other than three starts in AA at the end of last season. Given the way the Pirates develop pitchers, the career 3.70 ERA is probably inflated from some rough outings in A-ball where the focus is on fastball command regardless of the situation. At the same time, Taillon had a 3.67 ERA through 110 innings in AA Altoona this season while striking out 106 batters and walking just 36 in that span.

Price left AA Montgomery with a 1.89 ERA, 55 strikeouts, and 16 walks in 57 innings.

There are other factors involved than just the numbers. Taillon has had to miss a few starts on two separate occasions this season due to neck stiffness. Interestingly enough, he missed two starts with his most recent injury, came back for one start, then was promoted. Even if Taillon pitches well in August, how can the Pirates guarantee this neck issue wont come up again in September? Since he would have to be put on the 40-man roster before pitching in Pittsburgh, that seems like risky situation, especially since there is only one spot remaining to add someone to the forty man and the Pirates are not done looking for another bat before the waiver trading deadline.

Furthermore, in the Rays’ situation in 2008, the bullpen had two lefties: JP Howell and Trever Miller. Howell was electric, with a 2.22 ERA, 92 strikeouts and 39 walks in 89.1 innings. Miller, on the other hand, struggled, producing a 4.15 ERA. With the opportunity to add not just a left handed arm to the bullpen, but an arm that could flirt with triple digits on the gun, the Rays saw Price as someone who could fill a need.

The Pirates are not in the same situation with Jameson Taillon. They have plenty of right handed relievers and, given Clint Hurdle’s propensity for using experience as a determining factor in selecting arms, Vic Black would likely be recalled before Taillon should the Pirates need another hard throwing right hander out of the pen.

Taillon’s promotion is great news and his time in Pittsburgh should be soon. But the likelihood of seeing him pitch this season is doubtful. The Pirates have too many arms in front of him at the moment and there’s still some work to be done with Taillon before he can prove to be a major league pitcher.

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