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Scout’s View- Learning Curve

Recently I have been asked about two of the Pirates big pitching prospects, Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie: How are they doing? How many years will it take until they come up?

But the one question that I get the most is why have they not dominated like they did in high school?

Well, quite simply, to expect these young men to blow away professional baseball players like they did in high school is asking way too much. With all due respect to the high school players that Taillon faced in Texas and Allie faced in Ohio, now they are facing the best from all states and many different countries – and many batters who have played college ball as well.

I watched some videos of games both pitched in high school, and—as is common among overmatched high school hitters—many were bailing out before the pitch was anywhere near them. Along with their great stuff, the fact that some hitters feared them gave both pitchers confidence and a certain attitude. On the pro level, you seldom see hitters bail out.

When I left my high school job at Quaker Valley to become an assistant at Penn State Beaver, I was struck by at the difference. It might not seem like that big a jump, from high school to the small-college level. But the fast balls were faster… and had movement. The sliders were thrown for strikes more consistently, as were the curves. The entire game seemed faster.

Same thing—only even more pronounced—when I made the jump to Division I ball at Duquesne. Can you imagine the difference from high school to professional ball?

Both Taillon and Allie are both big time players, but now instead of facing one or two very good hitters per team (if that), they are up against five or six—or more—very good hitters, with less holes in their swings than high school hitters. The fastballs that batters were late on in high school are now being taken to right field by pro hitters. The sliders and curves that made high school hitters bail out are now being pulled.

Taillon and Allie are going to be fine. With a lot of hard work, good coaching and good attitudes they will be very successful major league pitchers. They have both have improved as the season has gone on.

They were two great picks for the Pirates who will be major contributors to this organization.

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