Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 8/6/13
Rookies To Watch For This Fall An ugly 3 game set in Boston last week pretty much dashed any last hope I had for the Mariners to make some noise in 2013. Instead of complaing about another failed season I decided to look at the AAA Tacoma Rainier’s roster. Who is going to be the next young gun most likely to be called up in September when rosters expand?  Already we have seen some action with Nick Franklin and Brad Miller being called up and providing a boost. Here’s a look at a few players that might get the call to come to “The Show” next. Carlos Peguero OF Carlos Peguero has been up a few times before. I think he’s going to get another shot this fall but I also think it’s a good chance it could be his last shot if he doesn’t do something this time. This year in AAA Carlos is batting .274. That’s decent. Just ask Dustin Ackley if he’d take that number. Is it too soon to bring up Taijuan Walker? (Photo: Google) 16 homers and 64 RBIs, again good, productive numbers. His problem has been the letter K, as in strikeout. So far in Tacoma he has 118 strikeouts. When Peguero has been up with the Mariners in the past this was the problem as well. If Peguero’s phone rings this fall he’s going to have to solve the strikeout problem. Regardless, you have to love his power. He could easily develop into an Adam Dunn kind of player, a guy that will hit 40 homers for you but also strikeout 150+ times a year. Carlos needs to make his strikeout number more tolerable, say under 100 to have a shot to stick in the majors unless he can start really knocking balls out of the park at a high rate. Taijuan Walker  SP Taijuan Walker has split the year so far between AA and AAA and has been nothing short of outstanding at both levels. A youngster at only 20 years old, Walker, combined this year between AA and AAA, has held opponents to a .216 batting average. Walker has serious stuff in his arm. He throws a 95 mph fastball and looks like he is playing catch while doing so. He can rush it up there near the century mark if he wants to as well. Taijuan also throws a wicked 12-6 type of curve ball. If he can throw that pitch for a strike, it’s going to be a long night for the other team at the plate. Walker also occasionally throws what I would describe as a “work in progress” changeup. In the video I have seen he seems to throw that pitch too hard at times and winds up spiking it. Despite 1 pitch that needs some more work, his stuff has allowed Taijuan to punch out 131 batters in only 119 innings so far in 2013. Many would argue that at 20 he’s too young and it’s too soon to call him up. They said the same thing about a guy named Felix Hernandez when he was 19 and called up. Abraham Almonte is a .300 hitting OF for Tacoma. (Photo: tacomaweekly.com) It worked out pretty good for the guy we now call The King. Give Mr. Walker a chance. I’d much rather see that than Aaron Harang pitch an extra few starts this year. But, the only bad thing is Walker isn’t on the 40 man roster, so more moves are in order to make this happen. Abraham Almonte OF He is another outfielder but Abraham Almonte is a different kind of player than Peguero. Almonte, who was acquired by the Mariners from the Yankees for reliever Shawn Kelley near the start of the season, is going to hit close to .300 for you, something I don’t think Peguero will ever do (or any Mariner is doing this year). At AAA right now he’s batting .306 with 6 HRs and 32 RBIs. His power is not like Peguero’s but I think he could develop into a 20 homer type of guy. He does not strikeout like Peguero with only 51 K’s so far at AAA. He can also steal you a bag when he needs too. Abraham is a good defensive outfielder that is capable of playing all 3 outfield positions. Almonte deserves a look this fall. Look for him to get a shot in corner outfield spots, even center occasionally, come September. As with Walker, Almonte isn’t on the 40 man roster, so moves would have to be made to accommodate Almonte getting the call. The Mariners are close to being truly competitive within the division.   They have some young players now that seem to be able to handle the game at the major league level. If they can get a couple more to do the same, I see a bright future season in 2014. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE MARINERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
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