Taijuan Walker makes jump to Class AAA Tacoma
The Mariners’ top pitching prospect is coming off a career-best outing with Class AA Jackson on Thursday in which he struck out 12 batters.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Coming off a stellar effort for Class AA Jackson, Mariners top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker was promoted to AAA Tacoma on Friday. He will make his Pacific Coast League debut on Tuesday at Cheney Stadium against Fresno, the top affiliate of the Giants.
“The plan was to get him to Triple A at some point this year,” Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “He’s pitched very well, and I think everyone’s excited about his progression. He had a big night last night. The timing is right.
”I don’t like to put expectations on players. It’s a jump to another level. But he’s handled all of this very well.”
Walker, who ranked as the No. 18 prospect in the preseason by Baseball America (one spot behind Mike Zunino), struck out a career-high 12 in 62 / 3 innings on Thursday while limiting Mobile to one earned run.
The 20-year-old Walker earned the victory, just his fourth against seven losses for the Generals. But Walker has a 2.46 earned-run average in 14 starts, striking out 96 in 84 innings with 30 walks — just one base on balls in his last three starts. He has given up just 58 hits, limiting opponents to a .195 batting average.
Outfielder Austin Wilson, the Mariners’ second-round pick out of Stanford, signed his contract Friday and took batting practice at Safeco Field. Wilson is joining Everett of the Northwest League and hopes to debut on Monday.
At 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, Wilson has great physical tools; in fact, when the Mariners took him for his physical exam Friday, he was mistaken for a Seahawks tight end. He peppered a few balls into Edgar’s Cantina but didn’t quite reach his goal of an upper-deck shot.
“Too many line drives,” he said. “Hopefully one day I can get it up there.”
• Reliever Stephen Pryor, recovering from a lat tear that has kept him out of action since April 15, says he feels “100 percent back to normal.”
Now it’s a matter of building back up his arm strength. He’s been throwing and hopes to get on a mound by the middle of next week.