Bold Phillies prediction: Taijuan Walker is the best pitcher on the staff
Taijuan Walker will be third or fourth in the starting rotation for the Phillies this season behind Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola. This is how things will start. It’s not where they’ll finish, at least in terms of numbers.
Walker joins the Phillies with a lifetime 3.89 ERA. He has never sniffed the Cy Young conversation, but in 2023 he’ll be someone in the thick of the race along with some of his teammates.
A big knock against Walker in his career had been the inability to stay healthy. He started 29 games in each of the last two years, tying his previous season high from way back in 2015.
It’s too hard to ignore all of the things Walker has in common with Wheeler. Coming from the Mets to Phillies, their age at the time of the move, and years of untapped potential make him a sleeper candidate to be one of the better-starting pitchers in the National League.
For the Mets last season, Walker managed to go 12-5 with a 3.49 ERA. He was reliable in the back of their staff. The Phillies, now paying him $18 million per season, will ask much more of him. Fans should have faith he can raise his abilities to the next level and replicate what Wheeler has done in Philadelphia, or at least come close to it.
Wheeler, Nola, and even Ranger Suarez will outperform Walker at times. When the season is over, it’s Walker who will be the one with the fanciest numbers.