Has there been a more hyped player in recent years than Taijuan Walker? Probably not. Will he be as amazing as everyone hopes? That remains to be seen.
Frankly, the Seattle Mariners could afford to have some buzz around a young prospect. It has certainly been a long time since a minor-league hitter has gotten anyone excited and for now the focus is still on pitching talent.
Some coined Walker, James Paxton and Danny Hultzen as the “big 3,” though the organization never really embraced that label. It is probably a good thing too, because all three have struggled with injuries.
At the moment, Walker is the closest to making an impact but this is where the hype ends and the expectations begin. Players have limitless “potential” or “upside” when they are mowing down Double-A hitting, but things can change quickly when they get to the big club.
Is Walker ready? We may soon find out and the fans want to see what he can do. His first few rehab starts were not spectacular but on June 14 his line looking like this:
6 2/3 innings, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO
Does he have room to fail? Again, that depends on your philosophy. At this stage of a player’s development, an organization is concerned about injuries and confidence. Injuries have already been an issue, so the M’s do not want to add insult to injury by bruising Walker’s confidence with a rocky set of starts at Safeco Field.
Still, there comes a point where more time is just…more time. Soon it may be time for the Taijuan Walker era to begin.