Friday, December 6, 2013

Fantasy Focus: Impact Rookies- Taijuan Walker

Last year, we did a series on impact rookies to watch for fantasy baseball.  Out of that series, Gerrit Cole, Wil Myers and Shelby Miller made impacts.  Oscar Tavares suffered through an injury plagued season at AAA and Dylan Bundy had TJ early in the season.

First up this year is RHP Taijuan Walker of the Mariners.  He was drafted out of Yucaipa, CA HS in 2010, which is just a hop, skip and a jump from where I live.  He was taken in the supplemental first round #43 overall.  I wish I had made a local scouting trip to check him out when he was here.  I have maintained an interest in how the local kid is progressing ever since.  He has progressed rapidly through the minors and make his MLB debut last season after pitching in AA and AAA in the minors.  Here are his numbers:

AA  4-7, 2.46, 84 IP, 30 BB, 96 K.
AAA  5-3, 3.61, 57.1 IP, 27 BB, 64 K.
MLB  1-0, 3.60, 15 IP, 4 BB, 12 K's.

He has an explosive fastball with a curve and changeup to go with it.  He is relatively new to pitching so is still a bit on the raw side, but the talent is overpowering.

At this point, he would seem to be a lock to make the Mariners starting rotation for 2014, although there has been talk of including him in a trade for David Price, which would be a mistake for Seattle, IMO.  I like to draft hard throwing young pitchers for my fantasy team and have had a lot of success with that approach. I will definitely be tracking Walker through spring training and looking to draft him if he makes the Mariners rotation.

14 comments:

  1. Wish the Giants had been there scouting Walker also. They were too distracted by Gary Brown's speed down in So. Cal.

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    Replies
    1. Coulda, shoulda, woulda. Walker was drafted at #43 which is 19 slots later than Brown. It's not like he was grabbed one pick later or that everyone but the Giants recognized how good he would become.

      I will say that John Klima really liked him a lot and promoted him on Baseball Beginnings which is where I first heard of Walker.

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    2. 4 years in a row with shoulda coulda woulda first round decisions. Shoulda kept Wheeler. Coulda stuck with drafting pitchers in 10 and 11. Woulda someone other than Stratton been a better pick?

      4 years in row making first rounder "mistakes" comes back to haunt a team like the Giants who don't get a lot of high picks to begin with. Just saying this has a lot to do with the state of the organization and their ability to address the roster in meaningful ways.

      Stephen Piscotty was a guy that was picked about half a round after Stratton. He was playing right in the Giants backyard and he's already knocking on the door for the Cards. A tale of two cities when it comes to draft management between SF & STL.

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    3. I happen to think the Giants have drafted well.

      I will also give you the same warning I gave someone else. There is nothing constructive to be gained from rehashing the Wheeler trade. Further comments referencing it will get the button. It was a trade that had to be made under the circumstances. Sabes knew what he was giving up. It didn't work out. End. Of. Story!

      In any draft, you can always find a player who some team grabbed who became a bargain. Hindsight is 20/20. There are 9 teams that wish like heck they had drafted Tim Lincecum when they had the chance. Ditto 4 teams with Buster Posey and about 29 teams with Brandon Belt.

      I have no problem with the Giants recent drafts.

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  2. I agree. M's should keep Walker. Especially since they got Cano for 10/240!!! Whew!

    In related PacNW sports news, Boise State coach (and Cal Aggie alum!!!) Chris Peterson is taking over HC duties at UW! Go Dawgs!

    NWGiantsFan
    DtF!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What does DtF mean, NWGF? The only thing I found googling it was pretty crude....

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    2. Sorry Anon. Stands for "Duck the Fodgers!" Back in the mid-80s, the Chron used to have orange & black placard inserts in the stadium versions of the daily paper. "DtF" & "Fog Beats Smog" (which I still have proudly displayed at home!) were two of the more common ones. Trying to keep it clean for Dr B's site.

      NWGF (I like the acronym - thanks!).
      DtF!!!

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  3. I was hoping you would start the fantasy conversation again this year! I am in a new keeper league where I need to keep 4 guys. We can only keep them for a max. of 4 years and there are 12 teams. It's a head to head roto league with 1 week matchups. I need to keep 4 of: Ryan Braun, Adrian Beltre, Jay Bruce, David Price, Carlos Gomez, and Jose Reyes. I also have guys like Josh Hamilton, Aroldis Chapman, Michael Wacha, and Gerrit Cole that I am considering to a lesser degree.

    My strategy is to typically go heavy on hitters early, try to get one established ace and fill out my pitching staff in the mid rounds with guys I am targeting that I think may break out just like Walker, so I am leaning towards keeping 4 bats, but I would still consider keeping Price as my ace since it's unlikely one established as he is will be available draft day. I would love to get anyone's opinion willing to weigh in on this.

    P.S. Thanks Dr. B for all the great prospect info. I check in frequently to get to know what's up next for our Giants. Great work.

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    Replies
    1. I'd keep Price, Cole, Beltre and Braun or Gomez... but that's just me.

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    2. I agree with Covechatter here. I'd keep Braun, Price, Cole and probably Beltre.

      Bruce is probably never going to hit for average. Gomez just has a boom or bust feel about him for some reason. Reyes just can't stay healthy and playing on turf won't help him stay on the field. I won't tough Hamilton with a 10 foot pole despite his obvious talent and upside. Chapman is intriguing as is Wacha, but I would take Cole over both and you probably don't want to keep 3 pitchers.

      Hope that helps.

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  4. I really like Walker, and also don't think it would be wise for the M's to move him... even for Price. They nearly did it last season, and hopefully they've learned. Anyway, Walker is about where I hope Crick will be in a year or so. Big, athletic specimen who just pumps fastballs down your throat. I'm not impressed with his breaking stuff at this point, but he's so young, I'd expect him to put everything together in the next couple of years. There are a few pitchers around the league who I try to tune into when they're on the hill, and you can add Walker to that list if he's on their 25-man next spring.

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  5. How old was he when he reached the big leagues - 20?

    If so, or even if he was 21, that's impressive and a bright future ahead of him.

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    ReplyDelete