Every day you are around Taijuan Walker you get more and more impressed by him. He is off to a great start in 2012 on the mound. Walker is 2-0, with a 2.25 ERA to open the season. He has 21 strikeouts in 16 innings. HERE IS THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW I DID WITH TAIJUAN WALKER.
Walker, 19, is ranked by MLB.com as the No. 18 prospect in baseball and No. 8 right-handed pitcher. listed by Baseball America as the Mariners No. 1 prospect. Taijuan is mature beyond his years and honestly, if we were pitching in the majors right now, he would be fine. Most scouts compare him to Dwight Gooden and he would be the first 19-year-old since “Doc” to do it. I think he will get his chance in 2012 at the major league level.
The most amazing thing you hear about Taijuan is that he did not start pitching until he was a senior in high school. Some of that is true, but he had pitched a little bit his sophomore year and been around baseball for a while. He had an opportunity to play college basketball, but I think he made the right decision to go the baseball route.
Stuff wise, he is dominating the Double-A level. Most hitters at this level can hit a fastball. Yes, Walker gave up a home run on Sunday, but it was wind aided and most of his fastballs that are located correctly are un-hittable. His curve ball is outstanding and the change up is getting better everyday.
Sure, he will go through some growing pains at some point, but for him it might just be a three-run game sometime. The only righty starter that compares to Walker is Michael Pineda. He is a phenom and Mariners fans will get to see him in Safeco very soon.