7. Taijuan Walker, SP, Seattle Mariners
Walker: in no hurry, but will cruise
Walker, who will turn 21 in early August, was selected by the M's with the 43rd overall pick in the 2010 draft out of Yucaipa High School in California. He bypassed High-A ball to pitch for Double-Jackson last year and went 7-10 with a 4.69 ERA and 118 punchouts in 126 2/3 innings. He walked 50 hitters. At Single-A Clinton the year before, he had a 2.89 ERA and 113 K's in 96 2/3 innings.
This kid has the potential to be something special alongside Felix Hernandez at the top of the Seattle rotation. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound right-hander has a very simple and fluid delivery and generates exceptional fastball velocity with ease. He's a great athlete on top of that, and with three pitches that have the potential to be above-average, Walker has strikeout upside (8.38 K/9 at just 19 years old in AA ball) that will punch through the roof. He has plenty of time to fill out, too, meaning his fastball could receive even more zip in the coming years. Walker could probably develop into an ace on any pitching staff.
Similar to the other Mariners pitching prospect, Danny Hultzen, the club isn't rushing their top arm. They have him in spring camp to get a taste of major league hitters, but he'll start in the minors, likely at Class AA again. Walker has plenty to work on as he matures, mainly his consistency, but he should realize his full potential quickly and morph into a viable rotation option as soon as 2014. Combined with King Felix, Walker and Hultzen, Seattle figures to have a dominant one-two-three punch that can rival any other club in several seasons.
On to No. 8
Top fantasy baseball prospects - AL 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25
Top fantasy baseball prospects - NL 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
Don't miss these great reports....