Next Black Pitching Star Is On Deck For Seattle Mariners

On Sept. 1 Major League rosters can be increased by up to 40 players for the remainder of the season. Some of the top prospects that can actually help teams are already on deck.  

One of the most highly-touted and “hood” credible call ups is Taijuan Walker, a 6-4, 210-pound hurler who was the 43rd overall MLB draft pick in 2010 by the Seattle Mariners. Walker was officially added to the roster today.   

With a first name like Taijuan, no photo is needed to assume that he’s a brother. More importantly, he’s not just a brother playing baseball, he is a pitcher. After Tampa Bay’s David Price, there isn’t a black MLB starting pitcher for miles that is deftly-skilled or remotely known. Trying to find dope black pitchers is like a crack head scouring the park benches for loose rocks at midnight. It’s a tough deal.

Walker is scheduled to make his MLB debut Friday night against the Houston Astros, to set off a four-game set at Minute Maid Park.

Listed as the No. 5 prospect in all of baseball by heading into this season, it’s time to team Walker up with King Felix and hope for the kind of impact that can finally make the Mariners more than paper contenders in 2014.  

Walker comes with a lot of hype and unfulfilled potential, but he has made 25 combined starts for Triple-A Tacoma and Class AA Jackson with a 9-10 record, 2.93 ERA and 160 strikeouts (tied for fourth among minor leaguers this season).

In four minor league seasons, Walker boasts a 3.46 ERA and 400 K’s.  Having just turned 21 on August 13th, Walker’s the fifth-youngest in Mariners’ history to debut as a starting pitcher.

 In his first three starts with Tacoma, he went 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 16 innings, flashing the brilliance that so many anticipate, and the constant improvement needed for him to be a mound-mogul some day.

"My command is better. I can throw my curveball for strikes in any count, whenever I need it," Walker said prior to his participation in the MLB All Star Futures Game at Citi Field in July. "The changeup has been good lately. I've added a cutter to help them to stay off my fastball. I pretty much use that every game. I try to mix in all four (pitches)."

Time for cats to head out and get that No. 27 jersey early. There’s a brother with a golden arm toting the rubber in Seattle. His pro journey begins tonight. We haven’t seen much of that lately.  

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.