Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Taijuan Walker's fantasy impact in 2014
By Joe Kaiser
UPDATE: Much as we expected, Taijuan Walker finished his first stint in the Major Leagues in a strong fashion, limiting Houston to 2 earned runs in 5 innings while striking out a career-high 8 Astros in the process. Here's ESPN.com senior writer Eric Karabell with more below explaining the type of fantasy value the Mariners' prized young right-hander will have in 2014.
Taijuan Walker takes the bump for the third start of his young major league career against Houston tonight, and it will put a bow on the 2013 season for the prized right-hander. After Monday, fellow rookie Brandon Maurer will take his spot in the rotation. Walker limited the Astros to one unearned run over 5 innings in his Aug. 30 MLB debut, and could be in for a big season-ender at Safeco Field tonight.
The strikeout hasn't been there for Walker as much as many expected through his first two starts as a major leaguer -- after averaging 1.13 K/IP in the minors this season, he has only 4 K in 10 IP with Seattle -- but that could certainly change tonight against an Astros team that has 125 more whiffs than any other team in the majors this season.
At 6-foot-4, Walker has a large mound presence and the look of a player who'll be a horse atop the M's rotation for the foreseeable future, so it's easy to see why Seattle is being cautious about his innings. After 141.1 minor league innings split between Double-A and Triple-A this season, he'll end 2013 with somewhere right around 165 innings pitched in all, with a good chance to go out with some momentum for what is expected to be a big 2014.
Eric KarabellConsider Walker ahead of Cosart in 2014
"Both starting pitchers in the Houston Astros-Seattle Mariners game Monday were effective in their final outings of 2013. Houston Astros right-hander Jarred Cosart walked six, and finished with 35 walks and 33 strikeouts in 60 innings (10 starts). Um, the walks are a problem, and make his 1.95 ERA deceiving. Seattle Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker fanned eight in five innings. He’s only 20, but there is ace upside here. Walker is the preferred 2014 choice."