3. The Phillies should be concerned with Taijuan Walker
Taijuan Walker was signed to add more length to a very top-heavy rotation. Walker as a fourth starter makes a lot of sense, and I still like the move a decent amount for Philadelphia.
Walker's beginning to the 2023 season has been less than stellar, and with his last two second halves in mind, this should be cause for concern.
Walker put up all-star numbers in the first halves of the 2021 and 2022 seasons with the Mets before melting down in the second halves. The Phillies obviously need Walker to be a solid contributor for the entire season, but seeing him struggle in April doesn't give me much confidence that Walker will be the same pitcher he was in New York. In year one of a four-year deal, that's a bit concerning.
Walker made his Phillies debut at Yankee Stadium and allowed four runs on four hits in 4.2 innings of work. He walked three batters that night and threw 87 pitches.
His next start came at home against the Reds and Walker again couldn't even get through the fifth inning. In 4.2 innings of work he allowed two runs on three hits but walked five batters. He threw 105 pitches and couldn't even get through five.
His last start was better pitching in Cincinnati as he allowed one run in six innings and walking just two. Still, two starts of under five innings and 10 walks in 15 innings isn't great for a guy who's known to have solid command. Last season he walked just 2.6 batters per nine and never walked more than three in an outing.
Hopefully we see more of what Walker did his last time out in the future, but his slow start is concerning.