Seattle Mariners Taijuan Walker To Make MLB Debut Against Astros
The Seattle Mariners have announced that prized pitching prospect Taijuan Walker will make his major league debut on Friday versus the Houston Astros. Walker is currently assigned to the Triple A Tacoma Rainiers where he is 5-3 with a 3.61 earned run average fanning 64 batters in 57 innings pitched. Walker also started 14 games in double A this season posting a 4-7 record with an impressive 2.46 earned run average fanning 96 hitters in 84 innings. The young hurler has spent the last 4 seasons progressing through the various minor league ranks starting 68 games and sporting a career 3.49 earned run average as a professional.
In his last 10 starts Walker owns a 4.60 earned run average surrendering 51 hits for 25 runs in 51 innings pitched. Walker was ranked 18th by Baseball America in their 2013 prospect rankings. The Rainiers also have top pitching prospects Danny Hultzen and James Paxton chomping at the bit for a call from the big club.
The former 1st round selection in the 2010 amateur draft was selected 43rd overall as a compensation pick for the free agent loss of Adrian Beltre. The draft has already seen the likes of Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Matt Harvey and Chris Sale make their impact on the league with Walker hoping to follow suit.
Scoutingbook.com had this to say about Walker: [quote]Walker works mainly with a 94mph darting fastball that has great late movement, and when he mixes in a sometimes-effective straight change at 82mph, the fastball is nearly unhittable. His breaking pitch is a slurvy curve that isn’t yet ready for regular use, but he’ll have time to develop. Walker has higher upside (and higher risk) than either Hultzen or Paxton, but he’s also a lot younger, and will probably take longer to realize his potential. He needs to start the year back in AA, but if he makes progress, it’s not unreasonable to expect a late-season look in Seattle. Mid-2014 looks like his real callup date, however.[/quote]
The 21-year old right hander will oppose Astros hurler Brad Peacock in his debut. The 25-year old Peacock is 3-4 with a 5.67 earned run average for the struggling Astros.
The Mariners future starting rotation has a chance to be one of the league’s best with their golden prospects on the horizon but for now Walker will worry about his debut taking the rest one pitch at a time.