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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

May 25, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Taijuan Walker shoots up prospect list (plus minor-league report and Alex Liddi video — in Italian)

I hope you enjoy this Alex Liddi interview from Yankee Stadium as much as I did — even though I didn’t understand 95 percent of it. I found it linked from this article from the Italian sports site La Gazzetta dello Sport on Liddi’s grand slam Wednesday against the Rangers.

Here’s yesterday’s minor-league report. Today’s is not out yet, but I’ll post it here when available. Update 2:45 p.m.: And here it is.

Meanwhile, Keith Law of ESPN today came out with his updated list of the top 25 minor-league prospects, removing players like Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, now in the majors, and several players who have long-term injuries.

One of the biggest jumps is made by Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker, who was 24th in the preseason ranking and has moved up to sixth, behind pitcher Dylan Bundy (Orioles), shortstop Jurickson Profar (Rangers), shortstop Manny Machado (Orioles), catcher Travis d’Arnaud (Blue Jays), and RF/CF/EB Wil Myers (Royals).

Law writes of Walker, “Still just 19 and holding his own in Double-A (2.06 ERA), although he’s not quite as polished as Bundy or Miller (note: the reference is to Shelby Miller, Cardinals right-hander, ranked ninth). Seattle did the right thing in jumping him past hitter-friendly High Desert in the high Class A Californial League.”

Walker’s Jackson teammate, Danny Hultzen, is the only other Mariner on Law’s top 25 list, moving up to 22 after ranking 30 in the preseason. Here’s what Law says about Hultzen, who is 4-3 in nine starts, allowing just 25 hits in 50 2/3 innings, with 56 strikeouts and 25 walks:

“Hultzen is nothing spectacular, but he’s very close to major-league ready, with a changeup as his best shot for an out pitch and above-average command of all his pitches.”

Left-hander James Paxton was No. 51 on Law’s preseason list, and shortstop Nick Frankln was No. 57. Neither was mentioned in this update.

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