Andrew Taylor, a Durham native and 34th round selection of the 2008 draft by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of California of the West Coast of the United State of America of North America of the Western Hemisphere of the Earth of the Universe, or whatever ridiculously long name the franchise is going by these days, is rumored to be among the Halos' call-ups when rosters expand tomorrow. However, Taylor is not currently on the club's 40-man roster, so the Halos would have to jettison someone in order to make room for the former Pack pitcher.
If Tayor toes the rubber for the Halos, he will be following in the footsteps of N. C. State's most recent hurlers to make it to the Show. Andrew Brackman and Eric Surkamp made their MLB debuts in 2011. Hopefully Taylor's tenure is longer lived. Brackman, suffering from a total loss of command, has been banished all the way down to A ball while Surkamp will miss all of 2012 with an injury.
Taylor's ascension to the majors is very much unexpected, as he posted a 4.79 ERA in his last season with the Pack and heard 1,038 names called before his selection in 2008. First round picks have a hard enough time making it to the Show, but 34th round guys rarely amount to anything more than organizational depth.
But Taylor has the advantage of being a southpaw, and the 6-2, 195-pounder throws fairly hard. According to scouting reports, his fastball sits in the 90-92 mph range, and he compliments it with a nasty slider, making him tough on fellow lefties. Taylor was 1-0 with a 3.50 ERA for AAA Salt Lake this year, holding lefties to a .207 average. Advanced metrics do not think so much of his brief time in AAA; he has just 18 innings at that level. At AAA, he has held hitters to an unsustainably low .260 batting average on balls in play and stranded an abnormally high 88.7% of the base runners he allowed. Without such luck, his AAA ERA likely would have been a couple of runs higher.
Taylor started the year in AA, where he went 2-4 with a 4.61 ERA and 2 saves for the Arkansas Travelers. He posted an impressive 8.56 K/9 rate compared to a 3.07 BB/9 rate, and advanced metrics give him a fielding independent pitching ERA of 3.81, suggesting that he was a bit unlucky thanks to a higher than average .323 batting average on balls in play.
Taylor is 16-20 with a 4.01 ERA and 15 saves overall in his minor league career, where he has been a starter, middle reliever, and closer, but he projects as a Lefty-One-Out-Guy, or LOOGY, in the Show. Hopefully he will shut down a lefty bat or two during the stretch run as the Halos try to climb from 3.5 games out into a wildcard playoff berth.