This morning the Tampa Bay Rays traded right-handed pitcher Brad Boxberger to the Arizona Diamondbacks for right-handed pitching prospect Curtis Taylor. Here’s a quick look at the newest member of the Rays farm system.
Curtis Taylor, RHP: The Diamondbacks drafted Curtis Taylor in the fourth round in 2016 from the University of British Columbia. He began his pro career successfully that summer with a 2.20 ERA in 16 innings of relief work for Hillsboro in the Northwest League, posting a sharp 23/5 K/BB.
In 2017 he was activated from extended spring training in May and moved into the starting rotation for the Kane County Cougars in the Low-A Midwest League. He performed well, posting a 3.32 ERA in 62 innings with a 68/23 K/BB.
A sore shoulder kept him off the mound in August but the Rays would not have made the trade if they weren’t confident in his medical status.
Taylor is listed at 6-6, 215, born July 25th, 1995. His fastball is quite solid in the 91-95 range and he can mix in an above-average slider. His change-up is erratic, sometimes showing nice action down and away but not consistently so, and many observers have viewed him more as a reliever long-term than as a starter.
He made some progress with the change-up in 2017 but it remains to be seen if he will have the durability to start at higher levels. I rated him as a Grade C+ prospect entering 2017 and that still seems like a valid grade.
Boxberger is a very good reliever when healthy and Taylor could be similar down the line if starting doesn’t work out.