The good news just keeps on coming for Taijuan Walker. Ranked the No. 1 prospect in the Mariners' organization according to MLB.com, the right-handed pitcher made his Triple-A debut on Tuesday night for Tacoma.
Not only that, but Wednesday it was announced that Walker and his Rainiers teammate, shortstop Brad Miller, had been selected to compete for the U.S. Team in the Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game on July 14.
"We are very proud of both players for their accomplishments and it is an honor to be selected to play in the Futures Game," Mariners director of player development Chris Gwynn said. "Both players started the season in Jackson and have earned a promotion to Triple-A. We are proud of how they represent our organization and look forward to watching them play in New York."
Walker earned the promotion after dominating at the Double-A level, compiling a 2.46 ERA as a starter and amassing 96 strikeouts in 84 innings. Walker has made Mariners fans forget that they didn't have a true first-round pick in 2010, making the flame-throwing Walker their first selection at No. 43.
Miller has been an offensive revelation in the Mariners' farm system, ranking in the organizational top 10 for batting average (.314) and home runs (11).
The 23-year old also leads the organization with 52 RBIs. While there has been talk of moving the Clemson product from shortstop, the Mariners haven't shown any signs that they intend to do so. Miller was the Mariners' second-round pick in the 2011 Draft and has risen quickly through the organization.
Mariners fans also had a chance to give Walker and Miller some more company in Seattle. First baseman Ji-Man Choi was named one of the five Futures Finalists for the World team. A fan vote decided the final player on each team, much like the All-Star Game's Final Vote. There were five candidates for each team, with voting ending on Sunday at 8:59 p.m.
Choi, a native of South Korea, began the year in Class A Advanced High Desert, where he hit .337 with a 1.045 OPS in 48 games. He was promoted to Double-A in early June and is hitting .208 with four home runs in 17 games in Jackson.
The 15th annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game takes place at 11 a.m. PT on All-Star Sunday at Citi Field in New York and can be seen live on MLB.com, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on MLB Network Radio XM 89. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game. Fans can stay updated by following @MLBFutures on Twitter and can send/receive tweets to/from the U.S. and World Team dugouts during the game by tagging tweets with the hashtags #USDugout and #WorldDugout.
Jacob Thorpe is an associate reporter for MLB.com.