Jameson Taillon Working Through Mechanical Adjustment Prior to Spring Debut

Monday’s game is an example of the weird twists of spring training, as Jordan Wicks makes his third Cactus League start before another starter has even appeared once. That’s a matter of timing and intent, of course, as pitchers can still ramp up through simulated games and live BP. Jameson Taillon hasn’t pitched yet, but will throw a sim game on Monday as he works on repeating his mechanics to keep from striding and landing open.

Taillon has also experienced a little tightness in his calves, so the Cubs are taking it easy with him here in the early going. Provided all goes well with his sim game, during which he’ll face Cody Bellinger, the plan is for Taillon to debut this coming weekend. His focus in that game will be more on his stride than on any particular pitch, as Maddie Lee of the Sun-Times noted in the linked article above, since correcting his mechanics should automatically aid the shapes of his different offerings.

We’ve commented more than once on how trying to add a sweeper last offseason may have backfired on Taillon and the Cubs, and I can’t help but wonder whether that work unintentionally caused the open stride. While it’s not entirely fair to comp a big leaguer to youth players, I’ve seen countless examples of pitchers trying to force the action of a new pitch they’re not yet familiar with. I don’t think it’s inconceivable that Taillon was subconsciously striding more to his glove side as a means by which to “pull” the ball more that way.

It may have also been a result of his glove arm doing the pulling, thus causing him to over-rotate a bit. I don’t have the time to dig through film to see if this is actually the case and it might be such a small difference that it’s not noticeable anyway, or maybe confirmation bias would cause me to see something that isn’t there. After all, Taillon and the Cubs didn’t even pick up on it for a long time and they’ve got access to far more video and data than me.

In the absence of any proof one way or the other, I’m sticking with the tentative hypothesis that Taillon’s work on the sweeper was at least partially responsible for his stride issues. Regardless of whether or not that can be proven, all that matters for him is making the necessary correction to be more direct to the plate. Doing so will have all of his pitches playing up and should make this coming season far less frustrating all the way around.

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