#15: Curtis Taylor, RHP, 23
A tall, explosive right hander who possesses an upper 90’s fastball and a good power slider.
Height/ Weight: 6’6″ // 215
Drafted: 4th, 2016 (419th) | Signed: $496,700
School: British Columbia
Pitch Grades (Via FanGraphs)
FB Velocity: 93-97, T-98
Acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Brad Boxberger in 2017, Curtis Taylor has quickly risen through the Tampa Bay Rays pitching ranks. FanGraphs ranked Taylor as the 37th best prospect in the Rays system for 2019.
Off-speed pitches: His slider is above average and keeps hitters off-balance. It is sharp enough in the zone to create weak contact. 2080 believes that he will further develop as a fastball/slider guy and drop the change-up if he doesn’t improve his feel for it by the time he reaches the Major Leagues.
Delivery: Taylor features a repeatable delivery, albeit max-effort, which can lead to a lack of control at some points as he will overthrow. He does however, hide the ball pretty well and as a result the ball explodes out of the hand. He falls off towards the left-handed batters box which leads to a lack of control. I would expect him to address that in Durham this year.
2018 Numbers at HiA and AA:
78 IP // 2.54 ERA // 97K/30BB // 11.19 K/9 // 1.04 WHIP
Thoughts: I like Taylor a lot and I believe that he will be a force to be reckoned with in Durham this season, especially if he can improve upon his changeup. His explosive fastball/slider combo could work well at the backend of a major league bullpen sooner rather than later.
The Rays accelerated his development after the trade and he hasn’t missed a beat. In 2018, Taylor was used in a variety of roles ranging from a multiple inning reliever to an opener and even a closer. He opened 4 games and saved 8 in 38 appearances.
Keep an eye out for the ex-Diamondback top-10 prospect at Durham this year. Here is a video of Taylor pitching for the Montgomery Biscuits from 2080 Baseball: