Walker gets green light
The Seattle Mariners announced today that phenom pitcher Taijuan Walker got the phone call every minor leaguer waits for, sometimes for their entire life. The 20 year old Walker is now set to make his major league debut Friday night in Houston.
Two schools of thought came to mind when I heard Walker got the call.
- It’s another youngster Jack Zduriencik is bring up too soon in an effort to show his boss that his club is competitive and to sell a few more tickets at home games for the remainder of this season.
- It’s time and Taijuan is ready to have a shot.
I’m going with option 3. Both!
Clearly Jack Z is grasping at anything he can right now. Remember, he was put on do or die notice earlier this week when the Mariner’s brass gave him an ultimatum, 1-year contract extension.
But I also firmly believe Taijuan is ready.
Yes, he’s only 20 years old, but let’s not forget that a once very young Felix Hernandez made his major league debut at 19. What do we call him now? Cy Young candidate, The King, and if you could name that no hitter pose of his you could call him that too.
At the beginning of August I said Taijuan Walker was ready for the show and deserved his shot. I did so with good reason too.
So far, combined between AA and AA, Walker has a 2.93 ERA in 141 innings. He’s also struck out over 160 batters in that same time frame while walking only 57.
Taijuan throws a couple different versions of his fastball. He’s got the 4-seam blazer to compliment the darting cutter.
Additionally, he throws a very crazy-slow curveball. Think Aaron Sele. Walker’s curveball is regularly clocked between 69 and 73mph.
Batters have to play Candy Crush to entertain themselves in order to wait long enough to hit that pitch and that and that’s assuming they can handle the huge 12-6 sweeping break it has.
Walker also works in an occasional change up but it’s still something I think he needs to develop before we see it more often.
In 2013 Walker has held opponents to a .217 batting average. Imagine facing an entire team that batted with the same precision as Dustin Ackley has all year. That’s what you are going to get when Walker pitches.
It’s either fortuitous or brilliant on the Mariners part allowing him to make his debut in Houston.
The Astros are batting a meager .243 as a team on the season. Letting Walker mow the Astros down in his debut will do wonders for a young player’s confidence on a night when the butterflies will surely be flapping.
The Mariners have good reason to keep Walker on a short leash at the major league level.
I seriously doubt you’ll see him throw more than 100 pitches in a game this season.
No matter how much or how little we do wind up seeing, I suggest you watch. It’s not often you get to see a guy like this make his debut.