Results tagged ‘ Taijuan Walker ’

Walker Named Top MWL Prospect by Baseball America

It’s been a while since I’ve had anything to post on here except predictions that turn out to be wrong.  Clinton LumberKings’ right-hander Taijuan Walker has been named the Midwest League’s top prospect by Baseball America editor Jim Callis on his annual Top 20 list.

Walker and left-hander James Paxton (#8) both show up on the list.  Walker edged out Dayton shortstop Billy Hamilton (#2) and Midwest League MVP/Prospect of the Year Rymer Liriano (#5) of Fort Wayne.  Check out the full list here:  http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/league-top-20-prospects/2012/2612401.html.

For bonus content, here’s my interviews with Walker and Paxton from the 2011 season:

Things have been extra-quiet here at The LumberBlog as I’ve been wrapping up the 2011 Final Report and Bios.  I should have that out for viewing both here and on LumberKings.com in the next few days.

-DL

Saturday Notes (8/13)

It’s back to the road for your LumberKings tonight as they open a three-game series against the Peoria Chiefs at O’Brien Field.  Hitting the road might not be so bad after the Kings dropped two of three to the Cedar Rapids Kernels on a brief three-game homestand including an especially tough 2-1 loss last night.  It took the Clinton offense seven innings to get their first run on the board (by way of a Carlos Ramirez sacrifice fly), and the Kernels went right back ahead shortly after on a double by Rolando Gomez scoring Travis Witherspoon.  The Kings had a chance in the bottom of the ninth as pinch-runner Tim Morris took off from first base on a two-out 3-2 pitch that Matt Browning served into the right-center gap, but the Kernels held on for the win as Witherspoon fired in to first-baseman Ricky Alvarez, who then caught Morris at the plate.  The loss came despite 7.0 innings of one-run baseball from defending MWL Pitcher of the Week Stephen Kohlscheen.  Right-hander Matt Bischoff took the loss, his first since April 12.

Tonight’s Game Notes:  8.13.11 kingsnotes

Left-hander Anthony Fernandez, 3-1 with a 2.09 ERA and eight quality start in his last 10 outings, takes the hill for game one against the Chiefs.  It’s hard to believe, but in 17 outings this season, Fernandez has not once faced Peoria this year.  He’ll rely on experience against Chicago Cubs’ affiliate Boise (2-0, 2.84 in 2 starts with Everett last year) in his first match-up against the Chiefs tonight.  They’ll counter with lefty Frank Del Valle, a Havana, Cuba native that is 2-2 with a 4.02 ERA in seven outings.  First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

One other minor piece of news to pass  your way…right-hander Carter Capps, Seattle’s third-round pick in 2011 and the newest LumberKing as of yesterday will make his pro debut in the starting role on Monday in Peoria.  He’s on the roster as right-hander Taijuan Walker (who turns 19 today) heads to the Temporary Inactive List.  He’s likely done for 2011 after going 6-5, 2.89 over 18 starts, 96.2 innings in his first full season.

-DL

Follow me on Twitter at @davelezotte and the LumberKings at @LumberKings.

Tonight’s Interview: Ryan Kiel

For the fourth time this season, LumberKings’ right-hander Taijuan Walker started a game that would end in a shutout victory.  For the third time amongst those four starts, he faced the Cedar Rapids Kernels.  Walker improved to 3-0, 0.00 (0 ER in 16.o IP) against Clinton’s rivals to the West with 5.0 scoreless, f0ur-hit innings last night to lead the Kings to a 2-0 win.  Three of those four hits occurred in the first inning, but Walker picked Travis Witherspoon off of first base and induced an inning-ending double play from Jeremy Cruz.  A two-out RBI single by Mickey Wiswall in the third inning and solo home run by Anthony Phillips in the fourth inning (listen: Phillips Solo HR (#4) 8.10.11) provided the offense.  Left-hander Ryan Kiel retired all nine batters he faced over 3.0 scoreless innings and right-hander Tyler Burgoon picked up save #12 with a perfect ninth inning.

August is usually time for me to get through the bullpen in regards to interviews, and tonight’s outing for Kiel provides perfect timing to catch up with him.  Seattle’s 37th round pick in 2010 out of Marshall University, Kiel has lowered his ERA from 4.63 to 3.24 over his last two outings totaling 5.0 scoreless innings.  The Los Gatos, CA native talks about his role as the bullpen’s lone lefty, his fastball/slider/change arsenal, his time with the Thundering Herd, his 2010 debut in Pulaski and more on tonight’s pregame interview.

Listen Here:  Kiel Interview 8.11.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  8.11.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineup:  8.11.11 lineup

Game two with the Kernels is tonight at 7:00 PM.  Left-hander Tony Butler (1-2, 3.26) gets the start tonight looking to right the ship after his last outing (loss at Burlington, 5 ER in 5.0 IP).  He’ll be opposed by right-hander A.J. Schugel of the Kernels (3-3, 2.77).  Listen to the broadcast online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Follow me on Twitter at @davelezotte and the LumberKings at @LumberKings.

Tonight’s Interview: Anthony Phillips (Vol. 2)

The LumberKings secured their first series split of the season last night in Wisconsin, scoring six runs over the first four innings and getting another impressive outing from right-hander Taijuan Walker in a 6-1 win over the Timber Rattlers.  John Hicks connected on his first-career home run in the second inning (listen: Hicks 2-R HR (First of Career) 8.5.11), Stefen Romero added his 14th blast in the fourth and Anthony Phillips provided a spark with a 3-for-4, tw0-run, three-steal game including a heist of home plate (listen:  Phillips Steals Home (3rd Steal of Inning) 8.5.11).  Walker allowed a run over 5.0 innings and struck out six for his fifth win, ending his night with an athletic play off the mound on an attempted squeeze bunt by T.J. Mittelstaedt (listen:  Walker Defends Squeeze Bunt 8.5.11).  Right-handers John Taylor and Jonathan Arias combined on eight strikeouts over the final 4.0 innings with Arias picking up his fifth save.

Tonight, I catch up with Phillips for the second time to talk about his career-high-tying three hits, three-steal second inning including the daring sprint to the dish, his defense behind Walker and more.

Listen Here:  Phillips Interview 8.6.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  8.6.11 kingsnotes

The eight-game road trip continues with the second leg beginning tonight as your LumberKings take on the Burlington Bees at Community Field.  Left-hander Tony Butler (1-1, 2.41), pushed back from the Wisconsin series, starts tonight.  Last time Butler pitched here on August 26, 2007, he shut down then-Kansas City-affiliated Burlington to four hits in his first (and only) career complete-game shutout.  Butler is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA in three outings against Oakland affiliates.  The Bees throw right-hander Jonathan Joseph (2-4, 6.52) tonight, he’s a career 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in one start against Clinton.

Listen to the broadcast on 1390kcln.com beginning with the pregame show at 6:15 PM, first pitch at 6:30.

-DL

Follow me on Twitter at @davelezotte and the LumberKings at @LumberKings.

Tonight’s Interview: Roenis Elias

Just a year and two days ago, the 2010 LumberKings prepared for the debut of a recent call-up from short-A Everett as they played game two of a three-game series at Time Warner Cable Field in Wisconsin.  The Kings, 16-18 and fifth in the West Division in the second half under manager John Tamargo, were 6.5 games out of first place and were struggling to stay in the playoff picture.  The man making the debut that evening, right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen, would be the lift they’d need to get back into contention.  The 26-year-old former Milwaukee Brewers prospect dominated the low-A affiliate of his former club over 7.0 scoreless, two-hit innings as he walked one and struck out five in a 5-0 Kings’ victory.  Wilhelmsen, along with fellow AquaSox’ call-up Yoervis Medina (who would make his first start just four days later in the Quad Cities), combined to go 11-1 during the stretch drive, leading the LumberKings to the Wild Card spot.

Last night, the LumberKings entered play at 19-19 and held the West Division Wild Card spot over Beloit by 2.0 games despite three-straight losses.  23-year-old left-hander Roenis Elias, called up after just one outing in the AZL and three games with rookie Pulaski, made his Clinton debut on the very same diamond as Wilhelmsen.  He didn’t quite duplicate the performance, but he did fire 6.1 innings of five-hit ball, allowing one unearned run and fanning four in a 3-2 Kings’ win.  I couldn’t help but feel overwhelming déjà vu when comparing the debuts of both, especially given the timeframes in which they happened and the Kings’ record and relatively similar playoff standing.

While it’s still far too early to tell what the LumberKings will have in Elias, it’s certain that his path here is even more intriguing than Wilhelmsen’s.  Elias pitched for the National team out of Guantanamo, Cuba, defected to the United States last fall, pitched briefly in Mexico, signed with the Mariners in May, went 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA in just three outings in Pulaski and is now 1-0 as a LumberKing.   

With the help of manager Eddie Menchaca as interpreter, I chat with Elias for the first time tonight.

Listen Here:  Elias Interview 8.5.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  8.5.11 kingsnotes   

Right-hander Taijuan Walker (4-5, 3.12) starts for the Kings tonight as they attempt to split the series with Wisconsin.  The Timber Rattlers counter with lefty Charly Bashara (4-4, 5.12).  Walker and Bashara squared off on May 15 with Walker fanning 11 over 6.1 innings for the win and Bashara serving up eight runs, five earned over 5.1 innings in the loss.  Listen to the game at 7:05 PM on 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Follow me on Twitter at @davelezotte and the LumberKings at @LumberKings.

Tonight’s Interview: Kalian Sams (Vol. 2)

The Kings secured their first home series sweep and extended their winning streak to a season-best four games last night, defeating Wisconsin 5-3.  Mike McGee, Kevin Rivers and Matt Browning all walked with one out against left-hander Alan Williams in the seventh.  Timber Rattlers’ right-hander Casey Medlen worked 2-2 to Kalian Sams and fired a wild pitch scoring McGee for the tying run, and Sams followed up with a two-run single to left putting Clinton ahead for good (listen: Sams 2-R single 7.29.11).

Left-hander Anthony Fernandez turned in his sixth quality start in his last eight outings with three runs (one earned) over 7.0 innings to improve to 4-3.  Left-hander Ryan Kiel (H, 2) and right-hander Jonathan Arias (S, 4) closed down the final two innings.

Sams joins me on the pregame interview for the second time this year to talk about the game-winning hit and other topics.

Listen Here:  Sams Interview 7.30.11

Tonight’s Game Notes: 7.30.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineup:  7.30.11 lineup

Right-hander Taijuan Walker looks for a bounce-back start in the opener of a three-game set against Peoria (10-23) tonight.  Walker is 0-1 with an 8.44 ERA (10 ER in 10.1 IP) in his last two outings and is 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA in two starts against the Chiefs, but will look to reverse both trends against Casey Kopitzke’s struggling club.  The Chiefs counter with right-hander Matt Loosen (2-1, 1.73).  First pitch is at 6:00 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: Eddie Menchaca (Vol. 7)

The six-game East Division swing wraps up tonight in West Michigan, and your LumberKings are again looking to avert a sweep after a close loss.  The Whitecaps scored five runs over the first two innings against a struggling Taijuan Walker and the Kings never fully recovered, scoring four times to keep it close but ultimately falling, 6-4.  John Hicks had a breakout offensive game, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI (listen: Hicks RBI double 7.24.11) and Kevin Rivers sealed his Midwest League Offensive Player of the Week award with a solo home run (listen:  Rivers Solo HR (#8) 7.24.11). 

For tonight’s pregame interview, I check in with LumberKings’ manager Eddie Menchaca.  We talk about the tough trip so far, Rivers’ offensive breakout, Hicks’ season-best performance, Walker’s setback outing, the promotion of Tim Morris and addition of Julio Morban off the DL, tonight’s starter Tony Butler and more.

Listen Here:  Menchaca Interview 7.25.11

Tonight’s Game Notes: 7.25.11 kingsnotes

Butler (1-1, 2.61) starts against West Michigan for the second time in his career, first time since April 22, 2007 while he was with Wisconsin.  The Whitecaps counter with right-hander Kevin Eichhorn (7-3, 3.65).  First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 PM CT, listen to the broadcast online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Sunday Notes (7/24)

The LumberKings and Whitecaps dueled to a 1-1 tie over the first eight and a half innings at Fifth Third Ballpark last night, and it was the home team that earned the victory in the bottom of the ninth as Hernan Perez led off with a walk against left-hander Ryan Kiel (L, 0-1), took second on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Hamme and scored on a walk-off single to right by James Robbins.  The last-inning loss marrred what had been a tremendous pitching performance by the Kings, specifically left-hander Anthony Fernandez.  Fernandez limited the ‘Caps to a run on three hits over 7.2 innings and struck out six, but received only one run of support on a game-tying solo home run by Anthony Phillips (listen:  Phillips Solo HR (#3) 7.23.11).

Both clubs get set for game two action today at 12:00 PM CT as right-hander Taijuan Walker (4-4, 2.84) takes the mound for the Kings against Whitecaps’ right-hander Victor Larez (0-1, 13.50).  Walker is 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA, 30 strikeouts and an astounding .151 opponent average in his four July starts.  Clinton will be without first-baseman Tim Morris, who was promoted today to high-A High Desert.  Outfielder Julio Morban has returned from the disabled list to fill the open roster spot.

Today’s Game Notes:  7.24.11 kingsnotes

As always, tune in to the broadcast on 1390KCLN.com, beginning with the pregame show at 11:45 AM.

-DL

Monday Morning Notes (7/18)

If you’re wondering why I’m up so early, it’s because we have our 10 AM “Pack the Park with Kids Day” today.  The LumberKings close out the three-game set with Lansing with right-hander Taijuan Walker (4-4, 2.66) looking to halt a four-game losing streak.

Today’s Game Notes:  7.18.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineup:  7.18.11 lineup

Join me this morning for the broadcast on 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: Matt Browning

Right-hander Taijuan Walker’s nine-inning complete game effort might have stolen the show last night, but the LumberKings also put together their third six-run inning (tying a season-high for most runs in one frame) in the last week, scoring six times in the third inning to beat Great Lakes, 6-2.  Mike McGee doubled home a run, Mickey Wiswall added an RBI double (listen:  Wiswall RBI double 7.13.11) and Stefen Romero launched a two-run homer (listen:  Romero 2-R HR (#9) 7.13.11), but it was Matt Browning’s clutch two-run single to center (listen:  Browning 2-R single 7.13.11) that actually produced the tying and game-winning runs.

And so, it’s time to chat with Browning for the first time.  Seattle’s 43rd round pick out of James Madison University enjoyed success in Pulaski last season (.330, 4 HR, 24 RBI in 34 games) and is making an impact both defensively and offensively as Clinton’s third baseman in 2011.  Browning is 3-for-8 with three RBI over his last two games, just over 10 days removed from being struck in the helmet by a pitch from Quad Cities’ right-hander Trevor Rosenthal.  He talks about last night’s performance, coming back quickly from the injury, his time at James Madison University, his hot start in Pulaski last season and more.

Listen Here:  Browning Interview 7.14.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  7.14.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineup:  7.14.11 lineup

Left-hander Tony Butler, a career 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two starts against the Loons (both with Wisconsin in 2007), makes his third start for the LumberKings in game two tonight…he’s 1-0 with a 2.53 ERA over the first two outings.  First pitch is at 7:00 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

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