Neil Walker is a player that many fantasy owners have seemingly fallen in love with. Obviously they don’t view him as a top option, but as a fallback choice should they miss out on their chosen target. My question is exactly what is it that has people so excited?
First of all, just look at his 2010 production:
426 At Bats
.296 Batting Average (126 Hits)
12 Home Runs
2 Stolen Bases
.349 On Base Percentage
.462 Slugging Percentage
.340 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Yes, the average is decent, but is there anything else there that should really excite us? He has little power and no speed. That of course means that he also isn’t likely to bring a significant number of runs and RBI. What exactly are people seeing?
It’s not like he showed significant production in the minor leagues, either. In 2,601 AB he hit .273 with 71 HR and 49 RBI. That’s a home run once every 36.6 AB, very similar to his HR every 35.5 AB in the Major Leagues in ’10. He’s just never going to be a strong source of power.
He’s also clearly never shown speed. In fact, the 12 he had between the Majors and Triple-A in ’10 was a career high. It certainly seems like his upside is 15/15, and even that appears to be a stretch.
He may hit second in the Pirates lineup, meaning there aren’t going to be many RBI opportunities available to him. Could he score 80+ runs with Andrew McCutchen (assuming he hits third) and company hitting behind him? Sure, but that’s not about to get me excited.
Even the average is no sure thing, considering his BABIP and his minor league track record. In 356 AB at Triple-A in ’09 he hit .264. In 2008 he had 505 AB at Triple-A and he hit .242. Is it even a lock that he is productive there?
Let’s take a look at what I’m projecting for him in 2011:
.264 (132-500), 15 HR, 75 RBI, 65 R, 4 SB, .300 BABIP, .312 OBP, .418 SLG
Needless to say, I’m not extremely excited about him. There is nothing “certain” in any of his statistics and nothing that looks all that attractive to begin with. Maybe he won’t hurt you in any category, but is he really going to help you?
I’d much rather focus on any of these 2B, who at least bring potential value in one category, if not more:
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka
- Sean Rodriguez
- Ryan Raburn
That’s just to name a few. Basically, I’d be surprised if I ended up with Walker on any of my teams.
What about you? Is Walker a player you like? Why or why not?
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Make sure to check out some of our 2011 projections:
- Barmes, Clint
- Buchholz, Clay
- Butler, Billy
- Choo, Shin-Soo
- Drew, Stephen
- Ethier, Andre
- Freese, David
- Hudson, Tim
- Hughes, Phil
- Jaso, John
- Johnson, Chris
- Uggla, Dan
- Morrow, Brandon
- Phillips, Brandon
- Reyes, Jose
- Reynolds, Mark
- Rios, Alex
- Sanchez, Gaby
- Stanton, Mike
- Suzuki, Kurt
- Wieters, Matt
- Willingham, Josh
- Young, Michael