A high pitch-count limited Arizona starter, Taijuan Walker, to a single inning of work in his spring debut. Ketel Marte and Kevin Cron continued their hitting ways hitting a triple and a double respectively. It was a ninth-inning grand slam off the bat of Kyle Jensen, surrendered by Anthony Vazquez, which sealed Arizona’s fate and sent them to a .500 record for spring.
Right-hander Taijuan Walker was originally scheduled to go two innings in his 2018 Cactus League debut. However, an 11-pitch strikeout of Joe Panik to start the game quickly inflated his pitch-count. Walker threw 35 pitches (23 for strikes) in the first inning and was lifted after only one frame in which he recorder two punchouts.
The last time Taijuan Walker pitched in a game that mattered, he had one of the worst outings of his career, and he knows it. After an entire offseason of working out at team facilities to work on his conditioning and stamina, he is looking for a chance to prove he has what it takes to help the Diamondbacks win games in the future.
“I was the starter that day and I had a chance to set the tone and I didn’t do my job. I’m pissed off about it, but I definitely learned from it. When we get back there, I’ll have a different mindset going in.”
He’s been with the team through four general managers, during which time, only Paul Goldschmidt has accrued more big league service time exclusively with the Diamondbacks. His dog is best friends with fellow 2009 draftee, Chris Owings’ dog.
”I’ve seen a lot of players get traded and a lot of things happen. And I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to be here as long as I have and meet some really awesome people and great teammates who I’ll be friends with the rest of my life.”
Pollock is also taking the field for his last season of team control and if he stays healthy and productive, he could be in for a big payday in 2019. It will be, perhaps, his only chance to cash in big.
He may not be throwing like someone out of Norse mythology, tossing seven pitches at speeds of 100 mph or more while finishing off one of the game’s best hitters with a 92 mph change-up, but Archie Bradley is already piquing the interest of some observers. In his 17-pitch spring debut, Bradley’s slowest pitch was clocked at a breezy 95.1 mph, with his hardest offering creeping up to 97.2 mph
Despite having had the pitch called unusable by Dave Duncan, and despite his impressive outings backed by his high-velocity offerings, Archie Bradley has continued to work on his third (or fourth) pitch, the changeup. It’s clearly still a work in progress, but if Bradley can add the changeup to his arsenal of fastball, curve, and cutter, he is going to make it difficult on Arizona to not eventually give him another crack at the starting rotation.
After having no players from the organization rank in the top-100 on last year’s list, Arizona’s top two prospects, Jon Duplantier and Pavin Smith come in a t 76 and 91 respectively on the 2018 pre-season list.