Interview with Blue Jays’ 2015 Draft Pick, Tayler Saucedo

Toronto Blue Jays Tayler Saucedo joined Jays From the Couch to discuss being drafted, his first professional and the off-season

The Toronto Blue Jays took left-handed pitcher Tayler Saucedo in the 21st round of the 2015 draft. After signing on June 15th, Tayler was assigned to Bluefield where he made his professional debut on June 27th against the Kingsport Mets.

DOB: June 18th, 1993

Ht: 6’5″ Wt: 185lbs

Tayler Saucedo’s family name is of Mexican descent, with his great great grandfather immigrating to Texas, where much of Tayler’s family still resides. Tayler is proud of his name, stating that many Saucedo’s can be found world-wide with many in Spain and Guatemala.

With a father in the marines, Tayler moved around a bit with his first stop being Honolulu, Hawaii, where he lived for 2 years. He discovered his love for baseball during his next stop in Japan, where he lived until he was 6-yrs-old.

Tayler spent his following years splitting time between living with his mother and step father in Seattle and father in Texas. According to Tanya Saucedo, Tayler was destined to play sports, as he always played with basketballs, baseballs, or footballs. As a toddler, Tayler remembers crying while staring out the window at other kids playing catch.

It should come as no surprise to find out that Tayler played basketball, football, baseball, soccer, indoor soccer, golf and tennis.  Despite standing 6’5″ he wasn’t always that way, hitting a growth spurt towards the end of his sophomore year in high school.

Saucedo had dreams of playing basketball instead of baseball, but after making the Junior Varsity team in his sophomore year the coach told him not to try out. The coach felt that since Tayler was new to the school and didn’t grow up in the system, that he was going to play the younger players instead of Tayler. Basketball dreams crushed.

Enter his love for baseball.

Growing up, Tayler was always a pitcher but loved the outfield more. Before his growth spurt prior to his Junior year, Tayler’s fastball sat between 80-84mph, but his hitting days were over when he started to see his fastball reach 84-86 mph as a junior and 86-88 mph as a senior.

Left-handed pitchers are an interesting breed. They take longer to develop. Their fastballs take longer to reach their potential. Consistency with pitching mechanics and finding release points take longer to develop. So basically Tayler followed a typical path many other LHP have followed before him.

It wasn’t just Tayler’s fastball that took time to develop. Entering college, maturity was an issue, rather, immaturity. After a not so successful freshman year at Tacoma Community College,

I was attending Tacoma community college and from the beginning it wasn’t the right fit and also I just wasn’t mature yet. So during my sophomore year I ended up quitting and dropping out of school. I just didn’t enjoy the game anymore. So I took a whole year off.

During his year off, Tayler received a call from Tennessee Wesleyan College. Head Coach Billy Berry (now former Head Coach) and Tayler didn’t see eye-to-eye in his first year.

So how does Saucedo feel about Coach Berry now?

 We bumped heads my first year there, but the guy is an incredible coach he was always hard on me but it was always his best intentions. I was immature before I came to him. Not only did he shape me into a knowledgeable baseball player, he also turned me into a man. I strongly think that without him I would not be where I am today. He has my utmost respect as a person and a coach. He gave me an opportunity that other schools didn’t. He gave me a second chance.

As a Junior under Coach Berry, Tayler made 16 appearances with 9 starts in 2014-15. He pitched 59.2 innings with 32 walks and 59 strike outs and finished with a record of 5-2 and a 1.96 ERA. The tall lefty entered the draft, Toronto selected him in the 21st round, and he started his professional career with Bluefield in the Appalachian League.

After a successful month in Bluefield, one that saw him go 1-1 with a 2.42 ERA in 22.1IP, Tayler was promoted to Vancouver on July 29th. Saucedo didn’t slow down in his time in the Northwest League, finishing with 3-1 with 2.52 ERA in 35.1IP.

The Seattle native had this to say about the Vancouver Canadian fans:

It was an incredible experience. Being able to play in that type of environment is awesome. 6000+ screaming fans every night, it doesn’t get much better than that! It was also great that it was the Northwest League so family and friends could come up and visit.

In his first professional season the Blue Jays hopeful pitched 58.0 innings, striking out 49 and walking 23 with a record of 4-2 and a 2.48 ERA.

 What did you learn in your first pro season?

 I’m never satisfied. The biggest thing this year was learning a new pitch and sequences of pitches. Also being able to be deceptive as in throwing pitches all on the same plane.

Tayler Saucedo throws a 4-seam, a 2-seam, a slider, a curve, a change. He admits to needing more seasoning on his curve, a pitch he threw 41 times in ’15. Tayler spent some time with other Blue Jays prospects after the season in the Florida Instructional League. So how has he spent his off-season?

I’ve traveled a bit! Oregon and Texas. But besides that I’ve just been working out and throwing. Not much else to do while baseball isn’t in session

5 Questions with Tayler Saucedo

RM: Favorite baseball player

TS: Felix Hernandez no doubt. Love the way that guy plays the game

RM: First car?

TS: Well the first car I owned was a 2011 Camry. The first car I would buy would be a classic 69 Camaro

RM: Favorite TV show?

TS: Alaskan Bush People

RM: Favorite sports team, not the Blue Jays

TS: Seattle Seahawks for sure!

RM: Worse injury you’ve suffered?

TS: Got lucky but I fractured my right elbow in high school. Have a giant screw in there now for the rest of my life. Glad it wasn’t my left elbow or we wouldn’t be here talking. I was up on this rock wall during summer and I fell hit a guard rail and then put my right arm to brace my fall and it just snapped 3 different times

Thank you Tayler for taking the time to chat with Jays From the Coach and good luck in 2016 and beyond.

Follow Tayler Suacedo on twitter at @tsauce7

Shaun Doyle

Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.