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Scouting Update: Taijuan Walker, RHP, Yucaipa HS (2010 Draft)

March 11, 2010

Taijuan Walker made his 2010 season debut Tuesday afternoon at Palos Verdes, working three innings in which he showed what he’s got to offer, what he’s learning, and where he may be going.

At 6-4 with one of the best pitching frames you’ll find, Walker is a basketball player who got his feet wet in about 20 innings as a junior at Yucaipa (Calif.) HS in 2009. He turned to pitching full time this summer, though he wasn’t seen nationally. He surfaced on most pre-season watch lists after pitching for a scout team last fall, but it’s pretty ignorant to think you could hide a guy with this body, a fresh arm, and the ability to hit 93.

Tuesday afternoon, coming off the basketball season, Walker worked three innings. His fastball hit 93 in the first inning, with a change-up at 72-73, and an occasional curveball at 76. I thought the best two curveballs Walker threw were in the bullpen. The best one was a true curveball that hinted that Walker possesses above-average rotation, velocity and command of the pitch in coming years.

Walker averaged 90-91 with his fastball before declining into 88-89 velocity at the end of the outing. His fastball has a little tail on it against right-handers. Overall, he has the ability to keep the ball consistently around the plate. For someone with limited innings under his belt, Walker has his moments where he is very good at getting on top of the ball, getting extension, and letting his height work for him. While Walker isn’t as advanced as some prospect pitchers of his age, he also has more projection and ceiling than many pitchers who are automatic Division I and draft candidates.

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