Taijuan Walker
Taijuan Walker
26-Year-Old PitcherSP
Arizona Diamondbacks
60-Day DL
Injury Elbow
Est. Return 7/1/2019
2018 Fantasy Outlook
Acquired from the Mariners, Walker posted full-season bests in ERA (3.49), home-run rate (0.97 HR/9), strikeout rate (8.4 K/9) and groundball rate (48.9 percent). The flamethrower was limited, however, by a 3.5 BB/9 and a blister issue that hindered him early and cost him about a month. Poor grip may explain erratic velocity and dips in swinging strikes (8.6 percent) and first-pitch strikes (58.6 percent). He flashed brilliance, though, with a 3.32 second-half ERA and a 3.02 ERA in eight pairings with catcher Jeff Mathis, who may be the muse for his diverse arsenal. Also, the new humidor at Chase Field could help Walker's home struggles (1.39 HR/9 with a 4.18 ERA last year). Health and mechanical issues have delayed the former top prospect's growth, but the 25-year-old is trending upward a year removed from ankle surgery. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a one-year, $4.82 million contract with the Diamondbacks in January of 2018 to avoid arbitration.
Close to beginning throwing program
PArizona Diamondbacks
September 19, 2018
Walker (elbow) will begin a throwing program Monday, Zach Buchanan of The Athletic reports.
Walker will start by playing catch from 45 feet before slowly progressing from there. The right-hander is expected to be out until sometime during the 2019 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery back in April.
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Pitching Stats
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Minor League Game Log
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .226 631 132 56 127 23 5 28
Since 2016vs Right .270 682 142 47 165 41 3 17
2018vs Left .385 28 3 2 10 1 0 1
2018vs Right .200 28 6 3 5 1 0 0
2017vs Left .230 331 70 35 66 13 3 11
2017vs Right .262 353 76 26 82 24 2 6
2016vs Left .206 272 59 19 51 9 2 16
2016vs Right .285 301 60 18 78 16 1 11
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
Since 2016Home 4.21 1.31 158.1 8 10 0 8.0 3.1 1.5
Since 2016Away 3.38 1.28 146.1 9 10 0 8.2 3.0 1.1
2018Home 5.40 2.00 5.0 0 0 0 7.2 3.6 1.8
2018Away 2.25 1.25 8.0 0 0 0 5.6 3.4 0.0
2017Home 4.18 1.30 71.0 3 4 0 7.9 3.4 1.4
2017Away 2.92 1.36 86.1 6 5 0 8.8 3.5 0.6
2016Home 4.15 1.28 82.1 5 6 0 8.2 2.7 1.6
2016Away 4.33 1.17 52.0 3 5 0 7.6 2.1 2.1
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Stat Review
How does Taijuan Walker compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
93.7 mph
Strand %
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Walker started his age-23 season with quality starts in each of his first four turns, but he fell off-track and earned quality starts in just five of his last 21 starts (one of which only qualified because the runs were unearned). He had some massive performances in 2016, striking out exactly 11 batters on three separate occasions (and walking one or zero hitters in each), representing an all-or-nothing approach to the game log. Traded in the offseason to Arizona, Walker now faces an uphill battle, moving to a tougher ballpark and an organization that has not been earning merit badges for their work with pitchers recently. Additionally, Walker was making in-season mechanical changes as late as last September, and we get the recipe for a long road of disappointment for the once-promising starter. The stuff promises better things in the future, but there will likely be more growing pains before Walker is ready to make an impact on a start-by-start basis.
A monstrously bad start overshadowed a solid summer for Walker. He was popped for nine earned runs in his season debut, five in his next, and then after two good starts (one earned in 12.3 IP), he was smashed again for seven earned leaving him with an 8.74 ERA through five starts. That took him off the radar for just about everybody, at least as a premium fantasy option. He reeled off a 2.88 ERA in his next 11 starts with 69 K in 68.2 innings. From that point on his final 13 starts saw the normal ups and downs of a young, inexperienced pitcher. He’d have three good starts here, two duds there, en route to a 4.83 ERA in 78.1 innings. Home runs were the main problem behind his struggles. He had a 7.44 ERA in seven starts where allowed two-plus home runs and a 3.78 ERA in 22 starts with 0-1 home runs allowed. If loved him last year, you still should. He still has all the tools for a huge breakout.
The organization's top pitching prospect, Walker's ascension to the Seattle rotation did not go smoothly last season. He began the year on the disabled list with shoulder stiffness, missing the first three months. He then had to endure the wrath of manager Lloyd McClendon after an uninspiring start at Triple-A over the All-Star break. Consequently, the Mariners kept him at Tacoma longer than expected, and when he finally returned in late July he walked six and was demoted right back down after the game. He didn't make it back to Seattle until September when he worked out of the bullpen for three appearances before making two starts. He fared well in that stretch, though, posting a 1.96 ERA in 23 innings with 20 strikeouts and five walks. It's at least something to build on for 2015 when the 22-year-old will again compete for a rotation spot in spring training. Walker still has incredible upside, and last year's experience could serve him well this season.
After he rolled through Double-A and Triple-A last year, the Mariners gave their 21-year-old future ace a taste of the big leagues in September. Walker acquitted himself nicely across three starts with 12 strikeouts and four walks in 15 innings. The 6-foot-4 right-hander throws his four-seamer at 95 mph but hits the high 90s, pairing it with a low-90s cutter that keeps hitters off-balance. His offspeed stuff needs continued development, but he looks ready for the big-league rotation, which he appears likely to make coming out of spring training. It wouldn't hurt if he got a little more minor-league seasoning, but he should be in the rotation to stay by summer if he doesn't make the rotation out of spring training.
Walker had an inconsistent 2012 campaign, not extremely surprising for a hurler at the Double-A level who only turned 20 in August. After dominating the first two months of the season, Walker struggled in summer and late in the year, finishing with a bloated ERA. The most curious part of his numbers was the massive decrease in groundballs induced. Despite those concerns, he was still hitting 98 mph late in the season, and the Mariners liked the development of his breaking pitches too. It's too optimistic to expect the 6-foot-6 right-hander to make the Seattle squad out of spring training, but he's an elite talent who could see the bigs by the end of this year.
Named the organization's top prospect by Baseball Prospectus, Walker is a 6-foot-6 right-hander who could be about a year away from Seattle. The 19-year-old dominated at Low-A Clinton last season, striking out 113 in 96.2 innings with a 1.54 GO/AO and a .202 opponents' average. A 2010 supplemental pick out of high school, Walker was named the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Walker is just 19 and needs more seasoning, but he's not too far away. He could go to spring training in 2013 with a shot at a rotation spot. Keep an eye on his progress this season.
More Fantasy News
Transferred to 60-day disabled list
PArizona Diamondbacks
May 4, 2018
Walker (elbow) was placed on the 60-day disabled list Friday.
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Undergoes successful TJ surgery
PArizona Diamondbacks
April 25, 2018
Walker (elbow) underwent successful Tommy John surgery Wednesday.
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Surgery set for Wednesday
PArizona Diamondbacks
April 19, 2018
Walker will undergo Tommy John surgery Wednesday in New York, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports.
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Will require Tommy John surgery
PArizona Diamondbacks
April 18, 2018
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said Wednesday that Walker (elbow) was diagnosed with a torn UCL and will likely undergo Tommy John surgery.
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Diagnosed with UCL injury
PArizona Diamondbacks
April 17, 2018
An examination of Walker's forearm Tuesday revealed that he's dealing with a UCL injury, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports.
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