Port Coquitlam pitcher Curtis Taylor has flown the nest.
The right-handed relief pitcher was plucked from the Toronto Blue Jays organization by the Washington Nationals in last Monday’s (Dec. 6) minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft.
The annual off-season exercise is an opportunity for Major League Baseball (MLB) teams to restock the rosters of their minor league affiliate teams.
A similar draft exists for the MLB players, but it’s been put on hold by a labour dispute that started Dec. 2.
To be eligible for the minor league version of the draft, players can’t be on the 40-man roster of an MLB team, or on the 38-man roster of its AAA affiliate. They also have to have been initially drafted out of high school or were signed as an international free agent in 2017 or earlier. They could also have been college players drafted in 2018 or earlier.
Taylor spent most of the 2021 season with the Blue Jay’s AAA minor team – the Buffalo Bisons – after starting the season with the AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
In Buffalo, the 26-year-old had a 4.19 ERA in 19 1/3 innings.
Taylor was originally drafted out of the University of British Columbia (UBC) by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft. He was acquired a year later by the Tampa Bay Rays as part of a deal that sent veteran big-leaguer Brad Boxberger to Arizona.
With the Rays’ organization, Taylor worked his way up from the team’s single-A affiliate in Port Charlotte, Fla. to its AA team in Montgomery, Ala. before he was sidelined in early June 2019 by an injured elbow.
That September, Taylor became a Blue Jay in the completion of an earlier trade that sent second baseman Eric Sogard to Tampa.
Prior to heading to UBC, Taylor played his junior ball with the Coquitlam Reds.