Walker pitching for the Seattle Mariners in 2015
|Seattle Mariners – No. 44|
August 13, 1992 |
|August 30, 2013, for the Seattle Mariners|
(through May 21, 2016)
|Earned run average||3.97|
Taijuan Emmanuel Walker (born August 13, 1992) is a professional baseball pitcher for the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball. Walker was listed as one of the Mariners' top 10 prospects for the 2011 season, ranked 4th according to Baseball America. Prior to the 2012 season, he was ranked the second best prospect in the Mariners organization and the 20th best overall.
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, Walkers' original love was for basketball, until he began playing baseball at the age of 11. Walker attended Yucaipa High School in Yucaipa, California, where he was a pitcher and right fielder, as well as a two-sport athlete. At Yucaipa, Walker was teammates with Matt Davidson, a third baseman in the Chicago White Sox organization. Yucaipa is also the alma matter of former major leaguers Corky Miller and Mark Teahen.
On June 7, 2010, Walker was drafted out of Yucaipa High in the first round, with the 43rd overall selection, by the Seattle Mariners. Walker and the Mariners agreed to a deal that included an $800,000 signing bonus. He made four appearances for the Rookie League AZL Mariners, all in relief, and went 1–1 with a 1.29 earned run average (ERA). He was named to appear in the 2012 All-Star Futures Game.
After he pitched to a 5–3 win–loss record and a 3.61 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 57 1⁄3 innings pitched for the Tacoma Rainiers of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, the Mariners promoted Walker on August 30, 2013. Walker pitched 5 innings against the Houston Astros, and yielded just 2 hits and struck out 2.
Walker was called up when rosters expanded in September 2013. He started 3 games, finishing the season with a 3.60 ERA in 15 innings.
Walker began the 2015 season as a member of the Mariners starting rotation. In his first start, at Oakland, Walker gave up 9 runs in only 3.1 innings. He followed that outing by giving up 5 runs in 4 innings against the Dodgers, causing some to question whether or not Walker was ready for the big leagues.
Walker continued to struggle, pitching more than 6 innings only once through his first 9 starts. However, Walker won 5 straight starts in June and July, improving his record from 2-6 to 7-6.
Walker struggled after winning five straight, going 0-1 with an 8.02 ERA, but on July 31, he threw a complete game one-hitter (his only hit was a home run by Miguel Sano) against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. This time, his offense backed him up, as he won 6-1, striking out 11 only needing 100 pitches to do so.
Walker's father is black, and his mother is half-Mexican and half-white. Raised by his single mother, Walker helps care for his younger siblings.
- http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2011/2611021.html Organization Top 10 prospects: Seattle Mariners 2011
- http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2012/2612843.html Seattle Mariners top 2012 prospects
- http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/top-100-prospects/2012/2612998.html 2012 Top 100 Prospects
- "M’s Select RHP Taijuan Walker with #43". U.S.S. Mariner (Jay Yencich). June 7, 2010. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
- "Mariners sign top pick RHP Taijuan Walker". usatoday.com (USA Today). June 18, 2010. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
- Thorpe, Jacob (August 28, 2013). "Top prospect Walker to make first MLB start on Friday". MLB.com. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
- Anderson, Mark (January 18, 2012). "Scouting Report: Taijuan Walker (RHP)". Baseball Prospect Nation. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
- "Brooks Baseball · Home of the PitchFX Tool – Player Card: Taijuan Walker". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
- Laurila, David (December 14, 2012). "Q&A: Taijuan Walker, High-Ceiling Mariner". Fangraphs. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
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