Taijuan Walker will make Mariners debut Friday
Touted Mariners pitching prospect Taijuan Walker will get his first major-league start at Houston.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Another exciting piece of the Mariners’ future will soon become the present, as the team announced Wednesday it will select touted prospect Taijuan Walker from Class-AAA Tacoma to start Friday at Houston against the Astros.
It will serve as the much-anticipated MLB debut for the 21-year-old pitcher. The roster move will be made before Friday’s game.
Walker has long been one of the most popular minor-leaguers in the Mariners organization and came into this season as the No. 5 prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com. He has made 25 starts this year for the Rainiers and Class AA Jackson, with a combined 9-10 record, 2.93 earned-run average and 160 strikeouts (tied for fourth among minor leaguers).
Honors this year for Walker — a right-hander who checks in at 6 feet 4, 210 pounds — include pitching in the All-Star Futures Game and being selected as a Southern League All-Star. He will wear No. 27 for Seattle.
In four minor-league seasons, Walker has a 23-26 record, 3.49 ERA and 400 strikeouts. In 11 games with Tacoma, he was 5-3 with a 3.61 ERA and 64 strikeouts.
Walker, at 21 years, 17 days old Friday, will be the fifth-youngest in team history to debut as a starting pitcher.
Felix Hernandez, who took the loss in Wednesday’s 12-4 defeat to Texas, holds that record at 19 years, 118 days.
There weren’t many highlights from a lopsided loss to the Rangers, but one came in the sixth inning when Kyle Seager blasted a 415-foot home run off the “Hit it Here” Café.
Asked if he’s ever hit one that long, Seager said, “I don’t think I have — not at home anyway. That was a first for me.”
The third baseman tattooed Rangers pitching all year, hitting safely in 18 of 19 games, for a .403 average with 14 runs, 11 doubles, six home runs and 15 RBI.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @joshuamayers.