Blue Jays prospect Taylor Cole looking to continue recent strides

2 of 2

However, while the individual accomplishments were certainly there, the one thing that truly came through during our discussion was modesty. Taylor was quick to make sure that his various coaches and teammates, along his journey, shared in the success he enjoyed in 2014.

"“Vince is a great pitching coach, as were Darold (Knowles) and Jim (Czajkowsi). They’ve all helped in one form or another and all contributed a piece of what I am. Vince is big on fastball location and pushes that, but they are all great and big keys to my success and all pushed me in different ways to get better. “"

In regards to teammates, Taylor had the chance to pitch with some fairly solid prospects while in Dunedin, including Matt Boyd and two that made the trip all the way to Toronto in Daniel Norris and Kendall Graveman. As is any case when you have a group of arms like this, some friendly competition breaks out and guys take that to the mound with them, as Cole noted.

"“That old adage, success breeds success. When winning is what is going on, that’s what you are expected to keep doing. We all wanted to one-up each other, through friendly competition of course. Those guys were a big part of my success because I was always trying to compete with them and make sure I was contributing to the winning ways.”"

More from Jays Journal

After all that success in 2014, there were some questions as to what the Blue Jays see in Taylor for 2015 and beyond. As a fourth year professional, the Blue Jays had the obligation of adding Taylor Cole to the 40-man roster prior to Thursday at Midnight and risk exposing him the the Rule 5 Draft on December 11th. A the deadline passed, Toronto opted only to add Ryan Tepera to the 40-man roster, hoping that taking the risk of leaving Taylor available wouldn’t cost them a promising arm. For Taylor, while he acknowledged knowing about it, he said it was an afterthought and wouldn’t deter his focus on next season.

"“The only thing I can say about that is I’m excited to play at the next level, so that I know I am prepared to take a shot if a team takes me in the Rule 5. However, while I am 25-years-old and want to get to the Major Leagues soon than later, It seems like a somewhat of a long-short for a team to take me with just the two starts at Double-A and add me to their Major League roster for the season. But that’s why we work hard and things will happen when they are meant to. That said, I’m focused on next year and I’ll keep working toward it, with the expectation that I’ll still be in the Blue Jays organization and hopefully in New Hampshire to start the year.”"

For now, he’s focused on finishing his degree this winter, conditioning for next season before and after school, and being a supportive husband to his wife Madilyn, who is a pre-law student and was driving the car while we talked. In fact, Taylor turned to Madilyn when I asked him to tell us just one thing about yourself, something quirky, that most fans wouldn’t know. After a brief discussion, they came back with Taylor’s taste in music.

"“A lot of people make fun of my taste in music, as I listen to Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Adele. I even used Adele as my walk up music. There is a reason that music is on the radio and popular, and I kind of dig it. My conditioning coach once took notice of my music and said, ‘you know what that says about you, that you’re comfortable with who you are as a person.'”"

As spending an hour-plus talking with the man, that’s my read on Taylor Cole as well, a man that is comfortable with who he is, the choices he’s made, and the journey he is on. He is comfortable knowing that the hard work and dedication to baseball, his family, and his religion will provide him with put him on the right path for him.

*Photo credit: Jay Blue at Blue Jays From Away