In his first two big league starts, Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Jameson Taillon has faced off against Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, arguably the two biggest studs in the defending National League champion New York Mets‘ stable.

Welcome to The Show, kid.

Taillon was solid in his debut on June 8, allowing three runs on six hits through six innings in a 6-5 loss to the Mets.

On Tuesday, Taillon was spectacular. The 24-year-old carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and wound up tossing eight shutout innings, allowing two hits and one walk with five strikeouts in a 4-0 Pirates win.

While the usual sample-size caveats apply, Pittsburgh fans should be excited. This kid is showing signs he can be MLB‘s next ace in the making.

That was the expectation when the Pirates took Taillon out of high school with the second overall pick in the 2010 draft—one spot after Bryce Harper and ahead of current stars Manny Machado, Matt Harvey and Chris Sale.

In 2014, Tommy John surgery interrupted Taillon’s ascent through the Pirates’ system. Add a sports hernia in 2015 and he wound up missing two full seasons.

He began his comeback this year in Triple-A, where he posted a 2.04 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 61.2 innings before getting the long-awaited call.

In a way, it was fitting that Taillon immediately squared off against other, more accomplished young players like Syndergaard and deGrom. Lofty comparisons will follow him, fair or not, because of his draft pedigree.

“I definitely see them, definitely know they’re up there doing their thing,” Taillon said of the elite players in his draft class, per Baseball America‘s Vince Lara-Cinisomo. “At the same time, I’m still only 24. I’ve got a lot of years ahead of me. I feel like I’m in a good spot to go up there and make sure people consider me a good grab from that class, too, and throw me in with those names.”

Taillon’s start on Tuesday was made possible by a triceps injury that landed Pittsburgh ace Gerrit Cole on the 15-day disabled list, according to Adam Berry of

That makes Taillon’s presence especially important for Pittsburgh, which is hanging around the edges of the NL playoff race at 33-31, behind both the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals in the top-heavy NL Central.

The Pirates offense ranks among the top five in the Senior Circuit in runs scored, batting average and OPS. But no member of the Bucs’ current rotation outside of Cole owns a sub-4.00 ERA.

It’s too much to expect Taillon to immediately assume the No. 1 starter mantle. There will be bumps in the road, as there almost always are with rookie pitchers.

On Tuesday, though, we watched a guy with the poise and stuff to be special in a robust rookie class that’s already challenging last season’s bumper crop.

His plus fastball, which sits in the mid-90s, crackled. His curveball baffled. Even the first hit he surrendered in the seventh was a positive sign, as Charlie Wilmoth of Bucs Dugout explained:

[Curtis] Granderson’s single wasn’t hit hard, and it was on the ground, and Taillon promptly erased Granderson by getting Yoenis Cespedes to ground into a double play. He then got Kelly Johnson to ground out, and both Johnson and Taillon walked back to their respective dugouts visibly annoyed — Johnson because he couldn’t figure Taillon out, and Taillon presumably because, at least in the record books, his start would go down as being merely terrific, rather than transcendent.

There will be time for transcendence. The Pirates may need it if they plan to get back onto the October stage, just as they may need another right-handerNo. 1 prospect and 2011 fifth-round pick Tyler Glasnowto quickly follow in Taillon’s footsteps.

For the moment, Pittsburgh can revel in a once-hyped blue-chipper making good.

Welcome to The Show, Jameson Taillon. Grab a rosin bag and stay a while.


All statistics current as of June 14 and courtesy of and unless otherwise noted.

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