The Orioles selected Matt Taylor in the 5th round of the 2011 MLB Draft. Taylor, like most O’s college pitchers who sign quickly, made his pro debut in the GCL and shortly after was promoted to Aberdeen.
Taylor was enjoying a very successful 2012 until an elbow injury forced him out of play. He went on to have surgery, performed by Dr. James Andrews, to remove bone spurs from his elbow.
Taylor pitched as a starter for about half of 2012, but is more likely a reliever at the major league level; even more so now after the elbow injury.
His fastball is 90-94 mph and has lots of sinking and tailing action because of his low ¾ arm slot. Both of Taylor’s secondary pitches show promise. He throws his 78-81 mph changeup with good arm speed, but it’s still an inconsistent pitch. Taylor’s curveball has sweeping action and is effective when he’s hitting his spots, but he’s still working to improve his command of the pitch.
Taylor does a good job of working down in the zone with all of his pitches. His control will determine whether or not he’s a starter or reliever if the Orioles do not see his injury as a red flag.
Despite the elbow surgery, Taylor should be fully recovered and ready to go for spring training. He pitched well at Delmarva and will likely begin 2013 with the Frederick Keys. It’s unclear what role Taylor will claim next season, but a bullpen spot seems most likely — at least from the start.
If his command improves and he doesn’t encounter any further injuries, Taylor’s ground ball abilities and above-average stuff could make him a starter at the major league level. However, he still fits better as a reliever and should move quickly in that role.