After the New York Mets dealt Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates back in April, the return seemed somewhat underwhelming. The Mets initially received minor league reliever Zack Thornton, who has been pitching with Triple-A Las Vegas but could end up profiling as a AAAA player. The Mets also announced there was a player to be named later in the deal, with multiple reports indicating that player would be significant. The deal was completed yesterday as the Mets acquired left handed pitcher Blake Taylor. Taylor will be our focus of this week's edition of Minor League Mondays.
Taylor, who is only 18 years old, was the Pirates' second round pick in the 2013 draft. Taylor couldn't be announced until one year after he signed with the Pirates, which was on June 14th of last season. Taylor made his professional debut with the Pirates' Gulf Coast League affiliate last season, and pitched well. Taylor went 0-2, but pitched to a 2.57 ERA in 21 innings of work. Taylor also recorded 13 strikeouts and nine walks in his first professional season.
The scouting reports were good on Taylor out of high school. Taylor's fastball sits between 88-92 miles per hour, but he can also touch the mid 90's. Taylor's primary secondary pitch is a curveball which can be a plus pitch according to this scouting report from PiratesProspects.com. Taylor will need to develop a third pitch in order to succeed as a starter, with a changeup the likely offering. Taylor is expected to report to the Mets' Gulf Coast League affiliate to begin his development in their system.
Taylor is the more projectable piece of the Davis trade, as he has potential to reach the major leagues as a starter. It will take time, as Taylor is only 18 years old, so the ultimate winner of this trade won't be known for years. Davis has been a solid addition for the Pirates, hitting .252 with four home runs and 17 RBI's in his first 50 games in Pittsburgh. The power surge Davis experienced in 2012 hasn't returned yet in Pittsburgh, but he has played essentially league average ball at first for them. This trade will essentially come down to what Davis gives the Pirates over the next few seasons and if Taylor can make the major leagues. Given the Mets' track record at obtaining prospects in dumpoffs of veteran players, you would figure that the Mets can harness Taylor's potential.
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