Taylor was acquired by the Giants in the eighth round of the MLB Draft in 2016, and he began last year with the Class A Augusta Green Jackets, where he made 18 starts, throwing 97 2/3 innings with a 2.58 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. He was promoted on August 5, 2016 for two starts with Double-A Richmond before moving to High A San Jose to finish the season. For the season, he started 23 games throwing 119 innings with a 2.72 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. In viewing two of his first four starts for the Flying Squirrels, Taylor was hit hard in both games, giving up nine hits and six earned runs over 8 2/3 innings while striking out eight, but he was able to work himself out of multiple jams by keeping the ball on the ground and working down in the zone.
Taylor has a thick frame with sloped shoulders and a muscular lower half. The high-3/4’s arm slot helps to create great angle, but the arm action lacks any meaningful deception and he has been challenged to repeat the delivery, which is likely the root of his early control issues (8.30 BB/9) this season. It does, however, generate downward plane on his pitches, making it tough for hitters to work the top-half of the ball.
Taylor has an average fastball, which he can vary from 89-to-93 mph (T94). He displayed an average changeup that showed late fade and he went to it often, making it apparent his level of confidence with his go-to off-speed pitch. His third offering is a fringe-average slider, which he threw to both righties and lefties. It sits 79-to-83 mph, but it was lacking tilt in these views and his feel was below average. He is however, confident in his three-pitch repertoire and isn’t afraid to use any of his mix in any count.
With a fringe-average to average stuff across the board, Taylor will need to continue working to improve his control and command of all three of his pitches. If he can get his walk numbers down, and continue to generate swing and miss (15.23 SO/9), and do better to keep the ball on the ground (0.67 GO:AO ratio) as the season progresses, he could have some value as a spot starter or swingman at the big league level. However, if the fastball command and feel with his secondary stuff settles in at below average, he will be hard pressed to add impact beyond being the last man in the bullpen.