Taijuan Walker started his age-23 season with quality starts in each of his first four turns, but he fell off-track and earned quality starts in just five of his last 21 starts (one of which only qualified because the runs were unearned). He had some massive performances in 2016, striking out exactly 11 batters on three separate occasions (and walking one or zero hitters in each), representing an all-or-nothing approach to the game log. Traded in the offseason to Arizona, Walker now faces an uphill battle, moving to a tougher ballpark and an organization that has not been earning merit badges for their work with pitchers recently. Additionally, Walker was making in-season mechanical changes as late as last September, and we get the recipe for a long road of disappointment for the once-promising starter. The stuff promises better things in the future, but there will likely be more growing pains before Walker is ready to make an impact on a start-by-start basis.
Walker has allowed three hits over nine scoreless innings so far this spring. He has struck out 13 while walking one batter. The 24-year-old will look to continue the momentum in his fourth spring start, Wednesday against Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs. According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, Walker was sitting in the mid-90s with his fastball in his last outing, reaching as high as 97 mph. Walker underwent arthroscopic surgery on his ankle last October but has not shown any ill effects in camp. He struggled in his final year with Seattle, but if he keeps this up, Walker's stock will soar over the remainder of draft season.
Walker (ankle) lost his arbitration hearing and will receive $2.25 million for the 2017 season, FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman reports. Walker had been asking for a bit more than that, but considering his inconsistencies since reaching the majors, the arbiter sided with the Diamondbacks. He is currently focused on recovering from October ankle surgery in order to be ready for the start of the season.
Manager Terry Lovullo said that the Diamondbacks' goal is to get Walker (ankle) ready for the start of the regular season, Jody Jackson of FOX Sports Arizona reports. The young fireballer underwent ankle surgery back in October prior to being traded to Arizona, but it seems like Walker will be close to ready by the time Opening Day rolls around. A firmer timetable should become available as spring training progresses, but things seem to be looking up for the young hurler.
Walker (ankle) may add a two-seam fastball to his pitch arsenal this coming season, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports. While it was known that Walker dealt with foot/ankle issues throughout the 2016 season, he recently said that 10 bone spurs were removed from his foot during his October surgery. As a consequence of pitching through said issue, his ability to push off the mound was significantly hindered and resulted in his fastball's average velocity dipping below 94 MPH for the first time in his career. However, now that the ailment has been corrected, Arizona will hope that the flashes of promise their newest acquisition displayed in 2013 and 2014 will return this coming season. While rehabbing this offseason, Walker hopes to develop a two-seam fastball, which only makes him more intriguing as he'd become a five-pitch starter.
Walker (ankle) was traded to the Diamondbacks as part of a five-player trade Wednesday night. Walker has shown some promise in the past, but has struggled to put it all together in the last couple seasons. The 24-year-old hurler posted a 4.22 ERA and 4.99 FIP over 134.1 innings last season and struggled to keep the ball in the yard (1.81 HR/9). The move from Seattle to Arizona will only exacerbate those concerns, so the youngster will likely need to up his ground ball rate to enjoy success. He's under team control for at least another four seasons, providing some time for him to develop with the Mariners.