ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

ESPN makes bold prediction that D-backs’ Taijuan Walker will break out

Apr 1, 2017, 2:21 PM
walker...

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Taijuan Walker (99) throws against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of a spring training baseball game, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, in Surprise, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

After the Arizona Diamondbacks acquired him from the Seattle Mariners for star shortstop Jean Segura, the expectations for starting pitcher Taijuan Walker were certainly escalated.

The former first-round pick hasn’t lived up to that billing so far, with a career 22-22 record, 4.18 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, but ESPN baseball analyst Jim Bowden still has faith in him, as shown in his bold prediction for the Diamondbacks’ 2017 season.

Taijuan Walker delivers his breakout season. Once considered one of baseball’s best prospects, Walker has yet to live up to that potential. His ceiling is still high, and he has made two adjustments since joining the D-backs: He turned his cutter into a slider and added a little turn to keep him on line to the plate better. His makeup and character are exceptional and his pitching is about to be too.

This comes after a spring in which the 24-year-old’s 3.29 ERA was best among Arizona starters, and his 32 strikeouts were second in baseball behind Danny Salazar of the Cleveland Indians.

He started out spring with three strong outings, not giving up a run over nine innings while striking out 13.

Walker then looked very hittable, with a 6.87 ERA and 1.68 WHIP over his next three starts. He also gave up four home runs over this stretch of 13.1 innings.

However, he finally settled down in his final start at Chase Field against the Indians, giving up four hits and no runs while striking out four over five innings to earn his second win of the spring.

Although it comes from a relatively small sample size, Walker’s 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings in spring dwarfs his career mark of 8.1. His 32:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio was second in baseball and showed the kind of raw stuff the young pitcher possesses.

Walker will enter the season as the Diamondbacks’ No. 3 starter behind Zack Greinke and Patrick Corbin.

Penguin Air

Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel flips the rosin bag during the second inning o...
Wills Rice

D-backs avoid sweep with rollercoaster win vs. Tigers in Keuchel’s debut

Dallas Keuchel and the Arizona Diamondbacks secured an 11-7 win over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday in his debut with the team.
1 day ago
Arizona Diamondbacks' Daulton Varsho (12) celebrates his three-run home run against the Detroit Tig...
Arizona Sports

Watch: D-backs’ Daulton Varsho clears pool to cap 5-run inning vs. Tigers

D-backs CF Daulton Varsho sent a 435-foot blast at Chase Field to punctuate a five-run sixth inning Sunday against the Detroit Tigers. 
2 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel throws a pitch against the Detroit Tigers duri...
Alex Weiner

D-backs LHP Dallas Keuchel limits damage during inefficient team debut

Dallas Keuchel took the hill at Chase Field for the first time as a member of the D-backs Sunday and provided 4.1 innings.
2 days ago
Dallas Keuchel #60 of the Chicago White Sox pitches during the first inning against the New York Ya...
Arizona Sports

D-backs select LHP Dallas Keuchel to big league roster, will start Sunday

The D-backs selected LHP Dallas Keuchel from the Rookie ACL D-backs and the former Cy Young winner will make his first start on Sunday. 
2 days ago
Detroit Tigers first baseman Spencer Torkelson fields a grounder by Arizona Diamondbacks' Josh Roja...
Arizona Sports

Former ASU star Spencer Torkelson ‘trusting the process’ in rookie season

Despite his struggles to start his MLB career, former Sun Devil Spencer Torkelson is positive he will be able to turn things around.
2 days ago
Detroit Tigers' Javier Baez (28) is caught stealing by Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zach D...
Alex Weiner

D-backs drop 5th straight with loss to Tigers: ‘These are grinding times’

The Tigers took a 6-3 lead in the sixth inning Saturday night, and the D-backs never got the game-tying run to the plate.
3 days ago
ESPN makes bold prediction that D-backs’ Taijuan Walker will break out