Diamondbacks 1B Christian Walker; Picture by way of Minda Haas Kuhlmann
Wanting on the title, one would possibly assume, “Wow, this man is silly!” or “Who’s Christian Walker?” I didn’t need any flashy wordplay within the title to explain Walker. He’s merely excellent at baseball.
Christian Walker was drafted by the Orioles within the 4th spherical of the 2012 MLB draft out of South Carolina. He was dominant throughout his time at SC, hitting 21 HRs and sustaining an OPS of over .980 by means of his two years. Walker was additionally seen as somebody who could possibly be a high-OBP man with low strikeout numbers. He had 87 walks with simply 54 strikeouts throughout his 136 video games in school. Walker turned a big-time prospect for the O’s and was constantly amongst their high 20 prospects, climbing as excessive because the third greatest within the O’s system. Nonetheless, Christian ended up not panning out in Baltimore, showing in solely 13 main league video games for them. He was positioned on waivers and frolicked within the Reds and Braves minor league techniques earlier than ending up with the Diamondbacks. Walker was barely up within the Majors in 2017 and 2018, as he performed 48 video games and hit simply .180 with an OPS+ of 89 throughout these two seasons.
In 2019, the then 28-year-old Walker was lastly given a full probability to play within the majors and was a stable sufficient participant for the Diamondbacks.
Christian Walker’s 2019 Stats:
152 Video games
these baseline stats, Walker was a stable energy man who may stroll so much as effectively. Diving deeper into the numbers, Walker mashed sinkers that yr, with a +10 run worth versus that pitch. Nonetheless, he struggled towards fastballs, sliders, changeups, and cutters, as he posted a damaging run worth towards all of these pitches. Different vital stats to notice for later are Walker’s way-below-average Okay% and Whiff% from his first yr within the desert.
Going into 2020, Walker was nonetheless the beginning 1B for a nasty D-backs group. Within the Covid-shortened yr, Walker continued to be a really stable bat and put up good baseline numbers once more.
Christian Walker’s 2020 Stats:
57 Video games
One factor to note right here is the lower in each Okay% and BB%, which led to extra balls in play. This led to a lower in barrel price, as he was not hitting the ball as onerous because the earlier season. He was additionally downright terrible towards fastballs this yr with a -8 run worth and slugged simply .237 towards them. This could possibly be a results of him swinging extra typically so he was making much less stable contact. Outdoors of that, he was roughly common towards nearly all different pitches besides sliders by which he had a optimistic 7 run worth. Whereas 2020 was just like 2019 on the floor degree, there was some concern going into 2021 attributable to Walker’s large battle towards fastballs.
In 2021, Christian Walker was terrible, and he was drug to the top of the majors. This led many to contemplate him yet one more unhealthy yr away from being utterly out of the sport of baseball.
Christian Walker’s 2021 Stats:
115 Video games
These baseline numbers are terrible, however going to the superior stats shouldn’t be significantly better. He dropped down a minimum of 30 percentiles within the following stats: xwOBA, xBA, xSLG, xISO, xOBP, Brl, Brl%, Okay%, and BB%. how he was towards sure pitches, he continued to be unhealthy towards fastballs however was even worse towards sliders in 2021. In 2020 he hit .333 towards 197 sliders. That dropped all the best way to .175 towards 405 sliders in 2021. He was unhealthy towards the two commonest pitches thrown to him. Not what you wish to see. Walker was additionally swinging at extra pitches than ever this yr, with an 80.7% zone swing price, up 6 % from 2020. He additionally had a 41.7% First Pitch Swing%, which was a ten% improve from the earlier yr. Walker was swinging greater than ever and was not good at it. This free-swinging perspective led to a stable sufficient common, nevertheless it killed his OPS as a result of he produced a lot much less energy and decrease stroll numbers. As talked about earlier than, he was one yr away from being out of baseball. Headed into 2022, the now 31-year-old Walker wanted to ball out to maintain his job.
Christian Walker’s 2022 Stats as of 10/4:
159 video games
Walker has been elite up to now this yr primarily based on the fundamental numbers, however wanting into his superior stats reveals he has been unbelievable. Walker is within the ninetieth percentile or increased within the following: xwOBA, xSLG, xISO, Barrels, and Outs Above Common. He’s within the seventieth to 89th percentile within the following: xOBP, Barrel%, Exit Velo, Max Exit Velo, Onerous Hit%, BB%, and Chase Charge. These are loads of numbers, however to simplify it, he’s hitting the ball very onerous and regularly hits the barrel of the bat, which is resulting in very excessive anticipated stats. Walker has put collectively an elite season throughout, because the aforementioned stats are up as a lot as 70 percentiles. The primary purpose that Walker has been mashing is that he’s killing fastballs, sliders, and curveballs. 63.4% of the pitches that Walker has seen are these pitches, and he has produced optimistic run values towards every. Walker has additionally been strolling extra and hanging out much less this season in comparison with 2021. The primary purpose for that is that he’s swinging so much much less and is ready for his pitch. In 2022, his Zone Swing% is down 13 %, his First Pitch Swing% is down 12 %, and his Swing% is down nearly 10 % in comparison with final season.
It’s clear to see that Walker has been an excellent participant this season, and it got here on the good time. Regardless of his dreadful 2021 season, Walker has modified his method on the plate and is hitting the best pitches, which has led to large success. Walker’s fast turnaround is commendable, as is Walker himself. In conclusion, Christian Walker is superb at baseball, and you need to know that.