In wake of John Sickels latest offering, I felt now was the most appropriate time to drop the first part of my prospect comparison series. This particular pairing also has bearing on my next set of 10 rounds in my 50 round dynasty draft. Today, we'll be comparing and contrasting two highly regarded high school pitching prospects who just so happened to be in back to back draft classes. Fittingly, I enlisted the expertise of the aforementioned prospect guru for his help in differentiating between the two.The Basics:
Jameson Taillon- Height: 6'6"- Weight: 225 lbs-Throws: Right- Drafted: 2nd overall in 2010 by the Pittsburgh Pirates-Most Impressive Senior Year Stat(s(): A 19 strikeout No-Hitter vs Conroe High School- Repertoire: Fastball, Slider, Curveball, Changeup
Dylan Bundy- Height: 6'1"- Weight: 200 lbs- Throws: Right- Drafted: 4th overall in 2011 by the Baltimore Orioles- Most Impressive Senior Year Stat(s): K/BB 158/5 ERA 0.25- Repertoire: Fastball, Curveball, Cutter, Changeup
-I asked John if either player's high school performance should be taken with a grain of salt, did either have an advantage over the other in terms of opposition.
JS: Well, both of them came out of very competitive high school programs. Taillon is from The Woodlands, Texas, which is a suburb of Houston, while Bundy comes from Owasso, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tulsa. Taillon's competition was probably a tad better but both of them were tested against good competition in high school and on the showcase circuit. I don't think we need to weight one over the other on this factor.
-Physically, Taillon might seem more imposing than Bundy. His build is seen as, more of a traditional pitcher's frame. I have not read or heard of any concerns regarding Bundy's ability to manage the innings expected of a front-line starter, which gave me cause to enquire.
JS: Taillon is 6-6, 225, while Bundy is listed 6-1, 200. Taillon has "better" size, but Bundy is an excellent athlete and scouts don't have any concerns there. They should both be durable, or rather let me say that neither one of them has any red flag indicating that their injury risk is any higher than normal for a pitcher in their age cohort.
-In terms of fantasy play, the greatest concern I have over either of these players is the organization they were drafted into. Neither the Pirates nor the Orioles have had much success when it comes to developing pitchers. The Orioles may have done a better job drafting in recent years, but those prospects have not lived up to the hype when they reached the major league level, and some have regressed after their initial season. I was curious if this was taken into consideration at all, when evaluating the player in the long term.
JS: Well as you point out, neither of these teams has a really good track record lately with these types of pitchers, so that is a wash. That said, both Taillon and Bundy are special enough that the organizational context doesn't concern me that much, not enough to lower their grades or expectations anyway.
-Both pitcher's were seen as very advanced for high school pitchers, but how do they stack up against one another in terms of velocity, movement, command, and mechanics?
JS: Fastball velocity: well, keep in mind that we've seen Taillon in pro ball and we haven't seen Bundy. Pitchers often lose a few MPH as they come into pro ball compared to high school, so making a direct comparison here might be misleading until we see Bundy. Taillon worked at 92-95 last year and has been clocked as high as 99. Bundy worked at 94-98 in high school topping at 100. On just velocity Bundy might have a slight edge, but again that's misleading until we see what he does with a pro workload. This looks pretty even to me.
Movement: both fastballs have above-average to excellent movement. I've seen both described as "explosive."
Secondary pitches: Taillon has an excellent curveball and very good slider. His changeup is in progress but if everything goes right he'll have a complete arsenal with three or four plus pitches. Bundy has an excellent curveball, a cutter, and a changeup. Like Taillon, Bundy will have a complete arsenal with three or four plus pitches. It all looks very even to me.
Command: Well we haven't seen Bundy's command against pro hitters but it was rated very highly in high school. Taillon showed good command last year in Low-A.
Mechanics: I will say that Bundy's mechanics are cleaner in my opinion than Taillon's were at the same stage.
-So at this point we know that both pitcher's have front of the rotation stuff, with Taillon having better size, and Bundy having better mechanics, essentially equalling each other out in the +/- category. All things being equal, who does John give the edge to?
JS: I have a better "gut feeling" about Bundy. I actually rate Taillon a notch above him on my Top 50 pitchers list because we have some pro data to work with and we don't have anything for Bundy yet, but if there was no pro data at all, my gut would say Bundy.
-While there may be no definitive, right or wrong when drafting either in long term league's this season, Bundy is who I favor. I had the opportunity to draft him much later than other top pitching prospects in my 50 round dynasty draft. And while Taillon has been called the best high school pitching prospect since Josh Beckett (at the time of his draft of course), Bundy was labeled the "Best HS arm/pitcher I've ever seen!!!" by one unidentified scouting director via Baseball America's "Ask BA" back in May. For what it's worth, Jim Callis also prefers Bundy to Taillon.
Thanks to John Sickels of Minor League Ball for taking the time out to answer these questions. I suggest you order a copy of his 2012 Baseball Prospect Book, if you haven't ordered a physical copy by now, you can place an order for the e-book here.