Because we like to celebrate anniversaries around these parts, today — April 27 — is the five-year anniversary of Jameson Taillon’s professional baseball debut.
Yours truly was there for it: a rainy night at Charleston’s Appalachian Power Park with Bryce Harper in town.
Taillon, for the unaware, has long been considered one of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ and baseball’s most promising prospects and arms. He is big — 6-foot-5, 240 pounds — with a powerful right arm. Sadly, as sometimes is the case, his career was temporarily derailed by a series of injuries, including Tommy John surgery. He missed all of the 2014 and 2015 seasons, and is three starts into his 2016 comeback. We’ll get to that.
Back to the debut. Taillon, who told me that night five years ago he was 226 pounds, tossed 45 pitches in two innings before heavy rains shortened his professional debut.
Some other nuggets from that night:
— The Power hosted the Hagerstown Suns, which had Bryce Harper. Harper was 19 games into his professional career.
— Taillon’s first pitch came at 7:07 p.m., and was clocked at 96 miles per hour.
— Taillon needed 28 pitches to escape the first inning, which included a five-pitch walk to Harper.
— Taillon gave up one run on three hits, walked two and didn’t record a strikeout.
— The first inning ended on a 6-4-3 double play.
— Taillon hit triple digits — 100 miles per hour — on one pitch.
Taillon started 23 games for the Power that season, striking out 97 across 92 2/3 innings and getting his ERA to 3.98.
This season, Taillon is reminding everyone all the talent that right arm possesses.
Through three starts, he is 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA and 16 strikeouts over 16 1/3 innings. He hasn’t issued a walk.
It’s fun to watch this now 24-year-old on Major League Baseball’s doorstep.