June 9, 2015 at 4:45 PM
Ben Taylor from The University of South Alabama. Taylor was not ranked on Baseball America or Perfect Game USA. However, he was ranked as the 364th best prospect according to baseballdraftreport.com.
He is listed at 6-foot-3 and weighs 225 pounds. Taylor is a senior who spent the first two years of his collegiate career at Chattahoochee Valley Community College in Phenix City, Alabama. While there, Taylor started and pitched extremely well, but when he moved to South Alabama, he was moved to the bullpen. Part of the reasoning behind the switch to the bullpen is because as a starter, his velocity decreased significantly as the game went on. He struggled as a junior, but thrived as a senior, becoming one of the top relievers in college baseball. He finished his senior year with a 1.48 ERA in 42 2/3 innings and struck out an impressive 68 batters. He also recorded seven saves and surrendered just 26 hits and 13 walks. In 2014, despite an ERA north of five, Taylor still struck out 48 batters in 37 1/3 innings pitched. His walk numbers improved significantly from his junior to senior campaigns.
According to D1baseball.com, Taylor sat around 90 MPH with his fastball as a starter, decreasing to around 86-88 MPH as the game went on. As a reliever, the velocity increased to 90-94 and has even touched 95 MPH. They described his fastball as "sneaky" and "deceptive." His coach at South Alabama, Mark Calvi, also described his secondary stuff as "quality."
Seeing as Taylor is a college senior who was not ranked very highly on many draft lists, the Red Sox should be able to sign Taylor for well under slot money. Despite dominant numbers out of the bullpen, the Red Sox have announced Taylor as a starting pitcher.
Information gathered from al.com and D1baseball.com.
Photo Credit: Ben Taylor by John Adams, on usajaguars.com