Friday, March 1, 2019

Could This Be The Year of Christian Walker?

2018 was a huge year for Gamecocks in Major League Baseball. Whit Merrifield led all of baseball in hits last year leading to a nice contract extension where he will be making just over $16 million over the next four years. Jackie Bradley Jr. and Steve Pearce won a World Series ring with the Red Sox and they weren't just along for the ride as JBJ won the ALCS MVP and Pearce won the World Series MVP.

What about the guy who hit the most important home run in Gamecock history? Well 2019 might be Christian Walker's year to finally shine. Walker has been bouncing in between the minor leagues and the majors for the last four seasons with two different organizations. Since 2014 he has appeared in just 61 games with 99 plate appearances. The potential good news for Walker started in the offseason when the Diamondbacks traded away Paul Goldschmidt opening up first base for Walker. That good news was brief though as the Diamondbacks decided to move their All Star third baseman, Jake Lamb, over to first base.

That news didn't completely shut the door on Walker though as Lamb has struggled mightily to hit left handed pitching. Lamb hit just .160 off lefties last year with a slugging percentage of just .292. While Walker has had limited success in his brief stints in the majors, five of his six career homers have come off of lefthanders.

Walker knows this could finally be his chance to make a club out of spring training especially since he is out of options. The Diamondbacks would have to expose him on waivers if they decided to send him down to the minors and there is a good chance another organization who needs a first baseman would pick him up.

Walker is doing his part this spring as he is 6 for his first 9 with a homer and two doubles. Look for the Diamondbacks to platoon Walker at first with Jake Lamb this season. This is the exact same way the Red Sox plan on using Pearce as he will platoon with Mitch Moreland at first base.

1 comment:

  1. C-Walk!! Was there when he put a dagger through the hearts of the CCU faithful in Myrtle Beach. Haaaaaa!