I recall reading and then writing about the play-by-play from the second time that 17-year-old Taijuan Walker pitched in a professional game. Thanks to our modern ability to store everything ever recorded to strings of 0’s and 1’s in some data center somewhere (well, almost everything), we can easily find it (from July 15, 2010):
- Pitcher Change: Taijuan Walker replaces Eric Valdez.
- Bryan Altman called out on strikes.
- Adan Velazquez called out on strikes.
- Gunnar Terhune hit by pitch.
- With Corey Adamson batting, wild pitch by Taijuan Walker, Gunnar Terhune to 2nd.
- With Corey Adamson batting, passed ball by Jose Hernandez, Gunnar Terhune to 3rd.
- With Corey Adamson batting, wild pitch by Taijuan Walker, Gunnar Terhune scores.
- Corey Adamson walks.
- Mykal Stokes called out on strikes.
The next year he gave up 7 ER in his first 6.1 IP at Low-A Clinton before a dominant start the third time out.
After a smooth start at AA Jackson, he got all messed around from June on, with a 6.01 ERA and .178 ISO-against in the last few months of the season.
The next year at Tacoma he went through a five-game stretch with a 6.92 ERA and .187 ISO-against.
Point being, as brilliant and dominating as Walker can be, he’s not exactly a well-oiled machine. And the fits-and-starts of his 2014 certainly haven’t helped.
But even lacking command and leaving his curveball up in the zone more than once, Walker got away with only two hits. And even with all the wobbles documented above, Walker raced through the minors just fine overall.
So … patience.
BREAKING NEWS: Stephen Pryor to Twins for Kendrys Morales.
Can’t find any fault here. We’ve been saying the bounty crop of RH relievers needed to be cashed in for something, and Morales is a solid DH. It means they didn’t have confidence in Corey Hart or Jesus Montero and I can’t find fault with that either.
In fact, designating Hart for assignment might have to be the move made to get Morales on the roster. I don’t think they can leave themselves with Willie Bloomquist as the only backup outfielder and the only backup infielder, and I think that would be the case if they demote Stefen Romero and keep both Hart and Morales on the bench.
I think they still need to acquire an outfielder, and Nick Franklin, of course, remains tradeable.
Everyone knew this would be a late-developing trade market precisely because teams like the Rays felt they were one big move from getting back in it — as, in fact, they were — and could afford to wait for their terms. I don’t think Jack Zduriencik wanted to use Franklin on a less-desirable trade if he thought something better might arise.
But I don’t think keeping Franklin past the deadline makes any sense.
MORE BREAKING NEWS: Chris Taylor to the Big Club; reportedly Bloomquist to DL.
I think they’ll give Taylor a decent shot at playing time. He’s more steady in the field than Brad Miller, and as I noted in a comment earlier responding to rick82, he gives them a RH alternative in the infield. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Taylor in a long-term role sharing some time with Miller at short while also serving as infield super-sub.
- Tacoma got six runs with only one extra-base hit. Five singles, six walks and two errors. So a nice win but no hitting stars.
- Jackson got a good start from our guy Stephen Landazuri: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K.
- And a homer from D.J. Peterson (his 5th at Jackson and 23rd overall), plus a double and a triple from Patrick Kivlehan and three hits for Dario Pizzano.
- Jack Reinheimer had two doubles and a single to lead Clinton.
- Pulaski got a nice start from the18-year-old we touted last week: Zack Littell — 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. Also a homer from Estarlyn Morales.