2024 Phillies Player Spotlight: Taijuan Walker

With the 2024 MLB season bearing down on us. We here at EOP will spotlight a Phillies player every week until the start of the 2024 season. We will highlight their 2023 season, strengths, weaknesses, and 2024 projections. This week we will highlight the pitcher, Taijuan Walker.

2023 Season

Taijuan Walker is not happy with his team, manager, or outcome of the 2023 MLB season. After compiling the most wins on the pitching staff this season, with 15 wins, Walker was mysteriously left out of the action for the postseason. Walker didn’t throw a single pitch.

Now, much that can probably be explained by his unsightly 5.93 ERA in September leading up to the postseason, but still, the Phillies could have used some extra firepower. The right-hander was signed to a four-year, $72 million contract last season, the type of money that one would expect means you get at least an inning of action in the postseason, much less a start.

Walker took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to express his disdain with the organization and their decision-making when it came to his utilization in October. There is also an X post going around showing Walker liking posts that criticize manager Rob Thomson and his decision-making. Something well-known following the Phillies’ loss in Game 7 of the NLCS. 

Barring a surprising trade, Walker will be back in red pinstripes next season. His role may be as important as ever with the lack of depth the Phillies have in the rotation entering spring training.

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Strengths

Has an ideal pitcher’s frame (6-4, 235 pounds) and tremendous stuff…including great velocity on his fastball. Strikes out batters regularly and displays the ability to dominate on the bump. Could stand to be a little more consistent when throwing his curveball and changeup, two pitches that can become stellar for him with more work. Control issues need to be worked on.

Weaknesses

Workload and his September collapse are major issues for a pitcher the Phillies have invested 18 million dollars a season on. Walkers’ disappearance from the postseason also is concerning.  Walker has always been “an innings guy” but with his elevated September ERA and postseason absence, one must wonder where he fits.

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2024 Projection

Walker enters spring training with a lot to prove to both the team and the fans. His X rant following the playoffs though justified is troubling from an all-in standpoint. His performance down the stretch is the main concern. In a rotation wide open after the number 2 guy, it’s hard for me to think of Walker as anything other than a 4 right now. He has a lot of work to do to prove me and others wrong.  

Matt Bednarczyk
Matt Bednarczyk

Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.

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