My sister graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan this weekend, so I found myself at the Hampton Inn in Buchannon, West Virginia (don’t ever go there) watching a lot of this game on my iPhone.
It has to be noted that Carlos Correa had a huge ballgame Friday night. He went 3 for 3 with a walk, and he’s been shooting a lot of balls to right field. This is his third home run into the right field seats so far this season, and fifth overall.
The 2014 previews continue onward, with today’s team being the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners preview is written by a Reds fan living in Seattle, Taylor Wolfe. Taylor has written for the site for a good long while. You can follow him on twitter here, or see some of his past work on MLB Beef or Diamond Hoggers.
The sun is just beginning to break through the gray of winter in the Pacific NW. The sun is a rare sight in the winter unless you are skiing in the cascades or up high enough in the mountains. But when the sun comes, it comes gloriously, bringing 70 degree days and baseball. The quality of the summer days cannot be debated. The quality of the team that trots out onto SafeCo field is another matter.
The Mariners made (maybe) the biggest splash in the offseason after several years of mediocrity – signing Robinson Cano as a free agent from the Yankees. The signing has come with surprisingly little fan far in Seattle. The biggest reason is likely that no one has been thinking about baseball while the Seahawks were winning the Super Bowl. With two highly paid veterans and most of the young talent on the club or quickly approaching, it seems the Mariners might be poised to contend. The biggest problem are 3 other teams in their division. The Rangers, Angels, and A’s all have real sights on the postseason.
Today is a day that belongs to Taijuan Walker. In the annals of baseball history, August 30th, 2013 will go down in history as the day that Walker was introduced to the baseball world. He’ll make his big league debut tonight against the Houston Astros
Here’s the scouting report. Since Baseball Prospectus (who we usually use for this portion) took the day off from their prospect scouting report, we use a site called Baseball Prospect Nation for the skinny on Walker:
Body: Absolutely flawless frame (6-4, 195) that oozes future projection. Has natural strength and room to add more without become stiff.
Makeup: I’ve heard nothing but good things about his makeup in my conversations with area scouts from his time as an amateur and in discussions with the Mariners.
Delivery/Mechanics: Everything is easy in his delivery. Employs a modest leg kick that allows him to maintain excellent balance over the rubber. His arm action is exceptionally clean and lightning fast. He finishes well out front and lands in a position that allows him to field come backers.
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Wind-up): High – 99, Low – 92, Average – 94-95, Grade – 70/80
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Stretch): High – 98, Low 92, Average 94-95, Grade – 70/80
Fastball (FB) Movement: Has good life and gets on hitters thanks to his long limbs and extension in his delivery. Will show some boring action in on right-handers at times. Shows aptitude to manipulate the ball. Grade – 50/60
Overall Fastball: Potential elite fastball velocity with such an easy delivery that it explodes to the plate and has added deception as a result. Grade – 70/80
Curveball (CB): Scouts saw both a true hammer and a loopier breaking ball from him in 2011. The hammer has elite potential and could be one of the better ones in the game if he can find consistency. Has 12-6 to 12-5 break that is hard and biting when it’s on. Grade – 50/70
Change-up (CH): Maintains arm speed and slot well but lacks feel for the pitch. Doesn’t always trust it and will try too hard to take some off it at times. Shows some sink when its working. Grade – 30/50
Control: Athleticism allows him to repeat his delivery well which helps him pound the strike zone with both FB and CB. Will work up in the zone too much at times, particularly when he tries to dial it up. Needs to trust natural velocity and pound the bottom of the zone. Grade – 40/70
Command: Locating within the zone is a work in progress. He will show flashes of moving the ball side to side and can intentionally elevate at times, but is too often just throwing at the zone rather than trying to hit a spot. Ultra-projectable delivery and athleticism gives plenty of projection. Grade – 30/60
Summation: You can imagine Walker becoming just about anything down the line. With crazy athleticism, great arm action, two pitches with at least 70 potential and a good head for pitching, he could be a true front of the rotation monster. He will require some developmental time but his potential is undeniable. The nuances of the game such as fielding his position, pickoff moves and pitch sequencing are still very much a work in progress, but they should come with experience. If the change-up leaps forward to be an average pitch there won’t be much left to stop him. The ace tag is thrown around too often by fans but Walker has everything needed to develop into a legitimate top of the rotation stud.
If a guy gets one of these posts, we’re clearly excited about the kid. Walker should have an electric future in the Seattle rotation. I’ll have at least one eye on it tonight as I follow the action around the league. Here’s to a decade of jaw-dropping stuff out of Walker.
Our team previews start in the northwest of the US where the weather says baseball is still months away, but I believe the calendar. The Seattle Mariners represent a bit of what I love about baseball. Perpetual hope. They might not be the best now, but they have plenty of young talent that make the future look brighter.
Let’s do a run down of the Mariners.
Major Off-Season Moves:
Acquired Kendrys Morales to bolster beleaguered lineup.
Acquired Michael Morse for the same reason.
Inked their ace, Felix Hernandez, to a 7 year $175m deal.
Moved the outfield walls in at SafeCo field.
Now on to who is going to take the field this year.