Taijuan Walker earned something for his mantlepiece on Thursday. This time next year he could be clearing out the shelf for an even bigger piece of hardware.
MLB.com's No. 4 prospect was named Seattle Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year, one of four awards the club announced on Thursday.
The 21-year-old right-hander earned the billing after going 9-10 with a 2.93 ERA in 25 starts between Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma. Walker finished tied for seventh in the Minors with 160 strikeouts.
More than the numbers, 2013 represented a big step up for Walker, as he won both his Triple-A debut on June 25 and his Major League debut on Aug. 30. Between those victories, the Mariners' top prospect joined many of the other top prospects in the game in New York, pitching in the Futures Game at Citi Field.
He was 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA over three big league starts before being shut down for the remainder of the season.
Chuck Taylor, who finished third in the Minor Leagues with 108 runs scored, earned Player of the Year honors, and Carson Smith was selected as Reliever of the Year. Abraham Almonte earned the club's Heart and Soul Award.