TACOMA, Wash. -- Tacoma Rainiers right-hander Taijuan Walker has been named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week for August 19-25, the league office announced today.
Walker earned wins in each of his two starts over that stretch, limiting opponents to one run and striking out a combined 15 batters through 11.0 innings of work. He held Colorado Springs scoreless on three hits and fanned six on August 20, and in his next outing, restricted Tucson to one run on six hits and struck out nine in a start on the road on August 25.
The 21-year-old is 5-3 with a 3.61 ERA (23ERx57.1IP) over 11 starts in his first Triple-A season. Walker made his Tacoma debut on May 25 as a 20-year-old, becoming the youngest starting pitcher to make his Rainiers debut since a 19-year-old Felix Hernandez made his first Triple-A start in 2005.
A graduate of Yucaipa (CA) High School, Walker was selected by the Seattle Mariners as the 43rd overall pick in the supplemental first round of the 2010 draft. He entered his fourth professional season ranked by Baseball Prospectus as the No. 1 prospect in the Mariners farm system, and was listed by Baseball America as the organization’s No. 2 farmhand.
Walker is now the fifth different Rainiers player to garner a weekly league award and the fourth to nab Pitcher of the Week honors. Pitchers Andrew Carraway (April 22-29), Jeremy Bonderman (April 29-May6) and James Paxton (June 17-23), and infielder Nick Franklin (April 22-29) were each recognized for producing outstanding weeks earlier this season.
The Rainiers open the team’s final homestand of the season when they welcome the Pacific Northern Division-leading Salt Lake Bees to Cheney Stadium for a four-game series beginning at 7 p.m. tonight. Right-hander Blake Beavan is scheduled to start Tacoma against Bees right-hander Tommy Hanson.
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