TAYLOR HEARN, LEFT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: August 30, 1994
Drafted: 5th Round, 164th Overall, 2015 (Nationals)
How Acquired: Trade (from Nationals for Mark Melancon)
College: Oklahoma Baptist University
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Hearn is a very high risk, high reward prospect with outstanding stuff but issues with command and control. He was drafted four times, including once by the Pirates, before he finally signed with the Nationals. He throws in the mid-90s, reaching the upper-90s. At the time of the trade, he threw a slider and change that still needed work. During the 2017 season, though, he scrapped the slider for a slurve. The Pirates acquired him, along with Felipe Rivero, in a deadline deal for Mark Melancon. They plan to develop Hearn as a starter.
After a brief stint in rookie ball, Hearn pitched out of the rotation in the New York-Penn League. He got hit a little hard, but had good BB and K rates. He had a large platoon split, holding left-handed hitters to a .564 OPS, while allowing a .756 OPS to right-handed hitters. Baseball America rated him the Nationals’ 28th best prospect after the season.
Hearn opened the season in the rotation in full season ball, throwing five shutout innings in his first start, but he suffered a broken foot in the first inning of his second start. He missed two months, then pitched in relief after returning as the Nationals built up his strength. He showed good control and had a very high strikeout rate. After joining the Pirates, Hearn made five relief appearances and one three-inning start. He showed both dominant stuff and control problems, striking out 21 and walking eight in 13.2 IP. He finished the season with two starts covering nine innings total, in which he allowed six hits and two walks, and fanned 15. Oddly, on the season Hearn allowed an OPS of .809 to left-handed hitters and only .576 to right-handed hitters, but the sample sizes were small.
Hearn spent most of the season in the rotation at Bradenton. In spite of the ERA, he mostly dominated. The ERA resulted from a low strand rate of 67.9%; whatever happened against him tended to happen all at once. His xFIP of 2.84 better reflects how he pitched. Opponents put up a line of just 203/286/319 against him. Hearn suffered an oblique strain in mid-August and went on the disabled list, but he returned in time to make one rehab appearance in the GCL.
Hearn’s season was much more encouraging than not and he greatly increased his workload over the previous season despite the missed time. The Pirates will no doubt be cautious with him, but he should open 2018 in the Altoona rotation.
|2018: Minor league contract|
|Signing Bonus: $275,000
MiLB Debut: 2015
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2021
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2018
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 0
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 6, 2012: Drafted in the 22nd round, 676th overall, by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
June 8, 2013: Drafted in the 36th round, 1095th overall, by the Cincinnati Reds.
June 7, 2014: Drafted in the 25th round, 740th overall, by the Minnesota Twins.
June 9, 2015: Drafted in the 5th round, 164th overall, by the Washington Nationals; signed on June 16.
July 30, 2016: Traded by the Washington Nationals with Felipe Rivero to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Mark Melancon and $500,000.