Taijuan Walker has clearly been one of the best right handed pitching prospects in all of baseball for the past few seasons. Heading into 2013 was no different and we had him ranked as the M’s #2 over all prospects. Here is what Geo Utter had to say:
2. Taijuan Walker, RHP 8/13/1992 H:6’4″ W:210 – Walker almost became property of the Arizona Diamondbacks in a deal for Justin Upton. Upton vetoed the deal and Walker remains with the Mariners. Possibly the steal of the 2010 draft, Walker was one the youngest players at AA this past season. Walker posted respectable numbers for a 19-year-old in the Southern League, which were skewed by an awful June. He went 0-3 with a 9.15 ERA, 5.33 FIP, and a very unlucky .373 BABIP. His stuff is excellent when he is on, but his command has got to be more consistent.
Our Instinct: With a mid 90′s fastball, excellent breaking stuff, and an improving change-up, Walker has the ceiling of a front line starter, but should settle into a #2 role with the Mariners once he’s able to refine his command. He’s been invited to spring training, but even with a lights out performance it’s hard to imagine him starting the season in the majors. He should start the season at Tacoma and if all goes well there, make his major league debut this summer. ETA: 2013.
That insight rings true on the eve before Walker makes his debut for the Mariners. Looking at his 9-10 record you might miss his the fact that his K rate for a 21 year old in Triple-A is excellent and the fact that he dominated Double-A.
He’s 21. Has posted a 10+K/9 over two levels this season and is really just starting to come into his own. Expectations are to get him some major league experience and for Walker to contend for a spot in the M’s 2014 rotation.
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