Jameson Taillon has a critical role to play for the Cubs in 2024

A resurgent second half offers some hope heading into the second year of his contract.
Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs
Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

About halfway through the year, Jameson Taillon was drawing Edwin Jackson comps - and with good reason. Heading into his London Series start against the Yankees, the veteran right-hander carried an ERA pushing 7.00 in 14 starts and opponents had an .870 OPS against him on the season.

But in that start against the Yankees, Taillon spun a gem, tossing eight scoreless innings and surrendering just one hit. From there on, while not perfect, the former first-rounder was much more reliable for the Cubs, showcasing why Jed Hoyer gave him a four-year deal last offseason.

  • First 14 G: 6.93 ERA, 5.14 FIP, .296 BAA, 63.2 IP
  • Last 15 G: 3.38 ERA, 4.24 FIP, .230 BAA, 90.2 IP

As you can see, not only was Taillon more effective at missing bats and keeping runs off the board, but he was eating more innings for David Ross - something the Cubs hoped he'd do when they added him to the mix.

Cubs need Jameson Taillon to bring consistency to the rotation

Now, with Marcus Stroman gone, the Cubs are out scouring the market for arms once again - but no matter what Hoyer does this offseason, Taillon - along with Kyle Hendricks - will play a key role in the middle of this starting rotation in 2024.

With Tommy Hottovy returning as pitching coach under new manager Craig Counsell, it's unlikely we see a dramatic alteration of Taillon's pitch mix - but it's worth noting that how he attacked hitters drastically shifted in his first year in Chicago. He relied heavily on a cutter and sweeper, all but banishing a slider that was incredibly effective in 2022 and cutting back on change-up usage, as well.

Now that he's got a season under his belt with Hottovy, will Taillon find more comfort in this new gameplan? That's the hope. And there's reason to believe that to be the case as he looked more and more comfortable as the season wore on. If he can replicate what he did down the stretch this year, memories of his brutal start in 2023 will quickly fade from memory.