One of our favorite pitchers from last season was big left hander Josh Taylor. He was a late free agent signee and pitched in only three games in relief for the GCL Phillies. He went 2-0 striking out 13 in only 9 nine innings as the team made a run for the playoffs and came up just short.
We saw Taylor again in Fall instructs. Last night we had the opportunity to see him for the first time this season. The three game Lakewood series from Lexington Ky. is being televised on MiLB-TV. Taylor was the winning pitcher in the BlueClaws 3-2 win over the Legends, the Kansas City Royals farm team in the South Atlantic League. His third win of the season was powered by a solo home run by Herlis Rodriguez to right and a long two-run bomb by Rhys Hoskins to left. Alexis Rivero picked up a save despite giving up solo homers in the eighth and ninth innings.
Taylor has been the No. 2 pitcher in the six-man BlueClaw rotation and this was his tenth start of the season. All six of the starters have not missed a turn all season. As a staff they have the second lowest ERA and WHIP in the Sally league.
Though Taylor has the highest ERA of the six starters, he has been very strong in his last two starts. He has been scored on only in one of the 14 innings he has pitched in those two, seven inning starts giving up only a three spot in the seventh inning against Greensboro back on May 31st. He has given up only 10 hits, struck out 15 while walking one in those two games.
Last night he struck out six, including four on what appeared to be fastballs and two with his curve. He relied on high heat to get his four fast ball outs swinging by throwing letter high pitches just over of the top of the strike zone but on the corner of the plate. He fastball according to the play-by-play announcer was sitting at 92-93 mph all night.
Taylor is listed at 6’5″, 225 lbs. and is a rare left-handed power pitcher. He is one of the few Phillies organizational starting pitchers to average more than a strike out an inning this season. He has struck out 56 in 51.1 innings of work. The 22-year old has been a real find since he was passed over by all 30 major league teams in the 2014 draft.
Of all the pitchers in major league baseball, Josh Taylor reminds me most of the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw who is listed at 6’4″, 225 lbs. And as we know the legendary Vin Scully always says Kershaw is “the best they have”.