Neil Walker

Walker was the 11th overall pick in the 2004 MLB, a high school product out of the Pittsburgh area.  He has had an interesting track to the Majors, a catcher by trade, he moved to 3B, then to 2B, where he is settling in nicely as the Pirates everyday 2B.  He had a fantastic start to his career in 2010, hitting .296/.349/.462 over 426 AB with 29 2B, 3 3B, 12 HR, and 66 RBI in 110 games.  This after a cup of coffee in late 2009, when he hit just .194 in 36 AB with 11 K.  Walker finished 5th, tied with Starlin Castro, for NL Rookie of the Year in 2010, which isn’t a bad thing considering the talent that came up last year, finishing behind Buster Posey, Jason Heyward, Jaime Garcia, and Gaby Sanchez.

Walker is having a productive 2011 season, hitting .265/.336/.419 in 215 AB, with 12 2B, 7 HR, and 37 RBI.  His BB% is up to 10% this year, after sitting at 7.2% in his rookie season, but his K% is up to 21.9% from his 19.5% rookie season.    Walker is 5th in 2B, 4th in HR, 2nd in RBI, 4th in Runs Scores, and 6th in Total Bases among 2B in baseball.  It is still early, but Walker’s power numbers look to be on the rise, and at just 25, the 6’3″, 215-pounder could develop into a switch hitting version of Chase Utley.  He has been very versatile so far in his career and he looks to be a powerful, athletic player who is forgotten about in the black hole that is Pirates baseball.  With the Roy Halladay, I mean…Charlie Morton…breakout and the possibilities with Andrew McCutcheon, the Pirates may finally have some talent to keep and build around.

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