Today, Jameson Taillon was swapped from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the New York Yankees for a handful of prospects that you are likely interested in knowing about since you clicked on this link. The headline says it all. Jameson Taillon certainly had his warts, but is undoubtedly a major league starter. In return, the Pirates have received four prospects that – if you squint hard enough – are interesting. Still, the return feels light when you consider the level of salary control for Taillon as well as the timing of the deal. In other words, this writer believes the Pirates are selling low and the return is commensurate as such. Anyways, let’s talk about the prospects.
If you’re looking for analysis on Taillon himself, head over to Zach Hayes’ excellent breakdown of Taillon from a week ago. Taillon will likely be slotted into the Yankee’s #3 spot in their rotation and will hope his return from TJS will return 150 frames for the pinstripes.
For reference, I am going to crib off of Zach Lindgren’s New York Yankees Top 50 Prospect Rankings.
Miguel Yajure, RHP, 22 years old (Ranked #7)
Yajure features a mid-90s fastball with a stellar changeup. Reports out there grade him with a plus cutter and a solid curveball. His motion is smooth and repeatable and he has a nice frame at 6’1”. Yajure provided the Yankees with 7 innings in 2020 and was projected to provide some reinforcements for the Yankees this year.
With a rotation featuring JT Brubaker and Chase DeJong, I have to believe the Pirates are going to have him in the mix to start the year with the big league roster putting in 100 innings or so with a 4.25 ERA (+/- .50 ER) and a tidy 9+ K/9.
Maikol Escotto, 2B/SS, 18 years old (Ranked #9)
Full disclosure, I think Zach’s optimism for Escotto is a little much for my taste. Escotto’s slash line of .315/.429/.552 and 167 wRC+ outperformed his scouting grades through his first stint in Rookie ball during the 2019 season. I still think it’s worth keeping an eye on that K% where he whiffed 26.1% of the time, which gels with some skepticism about his pull only approach and elongated swing plane. All of which could be fixed in a club with strong organizational development.
Canaan Smith, OF, 21 years old (Ranked #13)
I really like Canaan Smith. Maybe too much. He is someone who I feel like is regularly overlooked when prospect rankers go in on the likes of Antonio Cabello and Estevan Florial or, for those still longing for 2018 hype, Clint Frazier. Smith has demonstrated a mature approach at the plate through nearly every stop, posting a really nice OBP with a palatable K rate. People will say his frame is thicc, but it really isn’t as stocky as they might lead you to believe, at least right now. He’ll still wind up in a corner spot which means his bat has to perform. I believe it will. He’s just that strong and his discipline is just that good. I believe he’s the hidden gem in this return. I’d love to see him up in the next year.
Roansy Contreras, P, 20 years old (Ranked #19)
His ceiling is likely higher than that of Yajure. Contreras sports a respectable mid-90s fastball and the slider can be a nasty backbreaker, but his command needs to be cleaned up before he is elevated beyond a projectable 4th starter. According to reports, he has shown the ability to do such things with improvement on his curveball. He’s got a few more years before I think he makes it to the show.
Photo by Jimmy Simmons/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)