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Rays Top 50 Prospects: No. 31, P Curtis Taylor

The next player on our list was acquired in trade and will be intriguing to follow in 2018. He’s a big Canadian kid with a good arm that could put him well within the top 20 by year’s end.

No.31, RHP Curtis Taylor, 22 yrs old

Born: July 25th, 1995 in Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada

Height/Weight: 6’6” 215 lbs Bats/Throws: R/R

Signed: by the Dbacks after selecting him in the 4th rd of the 2016 draft for $496,700

Twitter handle: NA

Twitter profile statement: NA

Baseball America Rankings

  • Ranked as the 130th best draft prospect pre-2016 MLB draft
  • Ranked as the 10th best Dbacks prospect post-2016

DRB Writers ranking

  • High: 26th
  • Low: 46th

Curtis Taylor: Abilities

Scouting grades (MLB Pipeline): FB: 65 | SL: 55 | CH: 40 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45

  • Hard thrower - fastball has been known to hit 99 MPH on occasion
  • Change up on way to being average
  • Abilities notes: Uses a maximum effort delivery that is perfect for keeping the ball low but some see as unorthodox because of how low it is. The Rays plan on keeping him in a starting role (last report anyhow) and hope to bring his change up to a good enough level for him to stay in that role. If that doesn’t work out, he has a great future as a RP.

Joined the Rays by way of....

  • Trade, as the sole return for Brad Boxberger who was owed $1,850,000 for 2018 and has one more arbitration year remaining thereafter.

Latest Transaction: November 30, 2017, traded by Dbacks to Rays for RHP Brad Boxberger.

Note - When acquired by the Rays, MLB Pipeline inserted Curtis Taylor in the 28th spot for their Rays top 30 prospects list.

Facts, Honors, and Awards

Stats

Curtis Taylor 2017

GP 13
GP 13
GS 13
IP 62.1
W 3
L 4
Sv (SvO) 0 (0)
H 55
BB 23
SO 68
HR 4
AvgA 0.235
Whip 1.25
BAbip 0.313
LOB% 70.3%
GB% 43.6%
FB% 40.5%

Stats Notes: If we take Taylor’s first 4 starts out of the equation, he winds up with a 2.66 ERA, 1.12 Whip, 28.4 % K%, 7.2 % BB%, 0.38 HR/9, and 2.80 FIP, averaging just over 5 innings per start.

Interesting Comparison: Michael Wacha

  • Although he’s not from a cold weather climate like Taylor is, Wacha is exactly the same size as Taylor is listed at and also throws from the right side with a mid-90s FB that can reach the higher levels on occasion.
  • The difference between the two is obvious - Wacha reached MLB much more quickly than Taylor is going to (if he does) and their arsenals at this point in their careers were slightly different. Wacha’s secondary offerings were not noted as above-average when BA ranked him as the 6th best Cardinals prospect in 2013. Oddly enough, this gives an edge - to this point only - to Taylor who’s Slider has been noted as reaching the plus level.
  • What got Wacha to MLB so quickly, however, was outstanding command, one item Taylor will have to work on if he plans to continue starting going forward.

Notes for 2018 and beyond

It’s obviously hard not to root for Taylor if you watch his interviews. He’s a likeable guy with a beaming smile that suggests a fun-loving personality.

He also improved so much in 2017 that you can’t help but be interested on whether or not he can follow that up with a full season of above-average starts. If he does, this may turn out to be a major steal for the Rays because his potential as a starter is significant.

The good part for Taylor is that he’s already starting with some strong tools in his favor. He has the fastball with both sink and velocity, he has the body type that should hold up well as a starter, and he has a slider that should be effective enough to miss bats going forward.

What Taylor needs to figure out is how to get his change to become at least average, or perhaps above-average. The Rays have notoriously been great at using the change up (other articles here and here) to their advantage over time and in teaching it to pitchers as a whole, so it’s possible that Taylor landed on the perfect team if remaining a starter is what he’s after.

With a solid change up, not only can Taylor keep batters off balance but it could also help him to continue being effective vs both LHB (.223 average against in 2017) and RHB (.244 average against in 2017). Combined with a deceptive yet repeatable delivery, he could blossom into one of the better RHP prospects in the system.

Should all that fall into place, Taylor could skyrocket through the system and make his way to the Trop quickly. While there are no guarantees when it comes to prospects, a RHP armed with a FB that touches 99 MPH normally gets at least a look if he also has one other average offering, and Taylor has that covered. In short, his floor is high, and the ceiling is much higher.

Curtis Taylor: Spotlight Videos

Recap and links of previously listed DRB Top 50 Rays Prospects