By The Baseball Beginnings Guy
March 22, 2010
At this time a year ago, Taijuan Walker was an unknown commodity, not just to baseball, but to himself. A tall, long, lean and agile athlete who saw his future on a basketball court, Walker found himself on the mound one day. Baseball, it seems, found him.
Walker is a good example of why not everyone who is a definite pro prospect passes through the Area Code games. He never tried out and instead played scout ball in the fall. After finishing his high school basketball season, Walker went back to the mound, which at this stage in his young career, is a classroom. He hit 93 in his season debut, showed an 83 change, and a frame that is one of the most physically projectable bodies in his draft class at his position. Baseball Beginnings caught up with Walker recently for this exclusive Q&A.
Baseball Beginnings: Where do you think you are right now in terms of developing yourself as a pitcher?
Walker: I think I’ve gotten a lot better. This is the first time I’ve really pitched a lot.
Baseball Beginnings: You probably get this question a lot from scouts, but which sport do you like better?
Baseball Beginnings: Were you a basketball player all the way up?
Walker: I was until my freshman year. My friend told me to try out and I just went along.
Baseball Beginnings: Did you have any inkling that you could throw 92, 93?
Walker: No. It just sort of happened. I was real surprised.
Baseball Beginnings: Do you feel more comfortable pitching now or do you feel like you’re still growing into it?
Walker: Yeah. I’m not real confidant with it yet. I feel like I’m still learning.
Baseball Beginnings: So you get to be that one lucky guy who gets to learn how to pitch in front of 20 radar guns a day.Walker: Yeah. It’s new to me to have that many scouts so close to me. I try to block it out when I pitch and just try to be myself.
Baseball Beginnings: That bullpen back there, you threw two curveballs. The first one was good, the second one was really good. Is that something you’ve been able to bring into a game yet?
Walker: Thank you, and not yet.
Baseball Beginnings: Let’s talk a little bit about your athletic history. What position did you play in basketball?
Walker: I was a small forward. I was a center as a sophomore, junior and senior year a forward.
Baseball Beginnings: Is part of this that you’d have average height for basketball but above-average height for baseball?
Walker: I think so. Right now, in basketball, I’d have to be a guard.
Baseball Beginnings: Do you feel like a fish out of water sometimes, where you’ve come up all the way in one sport and then you’re playing with guys who have come up playing another?
Walker: Kind of. I just want to throw more strikes. I walk a lot of people sometimes. I want to be comfortable. I want to find a comfortable spot and throw a lot of strikes. I’m not as comfortable as I was in the Fall just yet. I had a lot of confidence in the fall.
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