Josh Taylor was acquired by the Boston Red Sox from the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this week as the final piece of the Deven Marrero deal. Now that he’s with the Sox, it’s time to learn a bit more about him.
Alex Speier of the Boston Globe describes Taylor as a “big, physical, 25-year old [sic], 6’5″ lefty who has recently moved to the bullpen.” He’s the prototypical power pitcher, tall and built, with a fastball that tops out around 96 mph and a sharp, power slider that averages between 89-91 mph.
Taylor began his professional career as a starting pitcher. In 2017, he averaged 8.4 K/9 and a 49% ground ball rate, but ultimately struggled in that role at the AA level, compiling a 4.96 ERA and a 4.2 BB/9 rate in 67 IP. Arizona decided to knock him back down to high-A and reform him into a reliever this past offseason, and since that transition, he’s posted a 2.81 ERA with 20 K’s and 5 BB’s in 16 IP, albeit against much younger and physically inferior competition.
Since switching teams, Taylor has already been promoted back up to AA Portland, where he’ll continue working out of the bullpen.
Scouting reports are fairly scarce on the lefty, but by all accounts he’s not considered a top level prospect. His baseball IQ is said to be a little lower than desired, and he’s been known to tire quickly, which is the likely reason for him losing his status as a starter.
Nonetheless, he owns all of the physical tools of a potentially effective Major League reliever, so with some more polishing, he could possibly be seen trotting out of the bullpen in Fenway Park at some point.