Tag Archive | "Christian Walker"

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Walker optioned to Triple-A Norfolk to play left field

Posted on 26 March 2016 by Luke Jones

First baseman Christian Walker was never expected to make the Opening Day Roster, but a productive spring and a position change may have put him in better position to help the Orioles in 2016.

On Saturday, Walker was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk where he will play left field every day for the Tides. The 2014 Orioles minor league player of the year turns 25 on Monday and will be playing the outfield for the first time in his minor-league career after seeing some time there in the Grapefruit League.

The position change figures to be Walker’s best chance to stick in the majors with Baltimore since Chris Davis is now under contract through the 2022 season and Mark Trumbo and Pedro Alvarez are also options at first base for the 2016 season. Left field remains an uncertainty for the Orioles with Korean newcomer Hyun Soo Kim and Rule 5 pick Joey Rickard battling for playing time to begin the season, but Walker could make himself an attractive option if he can hold up at his new defensive spot.

In 44 spring at bats, Walker hit .227 with four home runs, 14 RBIs, four doubles, a triple, two walks, and an .881 on-base plus slugging percentage. He has just 31 plate appearances in the major leagues over the last two seasons, but he hit .257 with 18 homers, 74 RBIs, and a .748 OPS at Norfolk in 2015.

With Walker being cut from the spring training roster, the Orioles now have 43 players remaining in major league camp, which includes eight non-roster invitees.

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2016 Orioles preview: Christian Walker

Posted on 24 March 2016 by Luke Jones

With Opening Day less than two weeks away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2016 Orioles every day as they try to return to the playoffs for the third time in five years this season.

March 1 – Adam Jones
March 2 – Chris Tillman
March 3 – Jonathan Schoop
March 4 – Brad Brach
March 5 – Nolan Reimold
March 6 – Yovani Gallardo
March 7 – Matt Wieters
March 8 – T.J. McFarland
March 9 – Dariel Alvarez
March 10 – Brian Matusz
March 11 – J.J. Hardy
March 12 – Mychal Givens
March 13 – Ryan Flaherty
March 14 – Ubaldo Jimenez
March 15 – Mark Trumbo
March 16 – Darren O’Day
March 18 – Pedro Alvarez
March 19 – Oliver Drake
March 20 – Mike Wright
March 21 – Zach Britton
March 22 – Caleb Joseph
March 23 – Dylan Bundy

1B/OF Christian Walker

Age: 24

Contract status: Under club control through at least the 2021 season

2015 stats (with Triple-A Norfolk): .257/.324/.423, 18 HR, 74 RBI, 68 R, 1 SB, 592 PA

Why to be impressed: Walker has received no more than a cameo in the majors with a combined 31 plate appearances over the last two years, but he posted a .922 on-base plus slugging percentage with four home runs and 14 RBIs in his first 42 at bats this spring. The 2012 fourth-round pick is also learning how to play the outfield, an important development with Chris Davis firmly entrenched at first base.

Why to be concerned: Despite having already gotten his feet wet at Norfolk a year earlier, Walker posted an underwhelming .748 OPS for the Tides in 2015, which doesn’t indicate enough power to stick as a regular in the big leagues — at least as a first baseman. The right-handed hitter also struck out 136 times, which is a high total for someone who doesn’t have standout power.

2016 outlook: Walker’s future with the Orioles could hinge on whether he can learn the outfield as there doesn’t figure to be many opportunities at first base or the designated hitter spot in the foreseeable future. With left field remaining a question mark for Baltimore entering the 2016 season, Walker could make himself an intriguing option if he can play solid defense there for Norfolk.

2016 not-so-scientific projections: .241/.304/.405, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 9 R, 0 SB, 81 PA

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Five questions pondering Hardy, Rice, Alvarez, Ravens franchise value

Posted on 24 July 2015 by Luke Jones

On Fridays, I’ll ponder five topics related to the Orioles or Ravens (or a mix of both).

Five questions …

1. Is it just me or should the Orioles be concerned about the remainder of J.J. Hardy’s contract? Baltimore’s announcement of a three-year, $40 million extension with the veteran shortstop on the eve of last fall’s American League Championship Series seemed like good news at the time, but it was fair to wonder if it was a sound investment in a middle infielder on the wrong side of 30 and wrapping up a season plagued by back issues that zapped his power. Hardy entered Friday’s game with a .345 slugging percentage, which would be the lowest of his career after he hit only nine homers and slugged .372 last season. To be fair, Hardy is hitting .263 with four homers and a .401 slugging percentage since June 9, but his lack of power is just one of many reasons the Orioles have struggled with offensive consistency all season and he’s still owed a total of $26.5 million in the next two seasons.

2. Is it just me or is it obvious why Ray Rice hasn’t gotten another shot in the NFL? The question really isn’t whether the former Ravens running back should get a second chance, but the fact that Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson have survived their own off-field transgressions would lead you to believe the 28-year-old is in line for an opportunity. Many — including myself — have discussed Rice’s poor 2013 season and his workload dating back to college as factors supporting the idea that his career might be decline, but it comes down to one factor and one factor alone — the surveillance video of him striking his wife being on display for the world at any moment. Photos and words describing an incident are heinous, but many have sadly become desensitized to those mediums. The video and its public release changed everything, however, as NFL owners have been unwilling to budge on Rice to this point.

3. Is it just me or is it difficult to explain the Orioles’ dramatic struggles on the road? There are a slew of reasons why the 2015 season has been disappointing, but one of the biggest mysteries is why the Orioles have been so poor away from Camden Yards. Baltimore’s 19-30 road record entering the weekend series at Tampa Bay was the worst in the American League while a 27-18 home mark is in line with the success of the last few years. Few would have predicted the Orioles repeating their excellent 46-35 road record from 2014, but even a record in the neighborhood of .500 away from home would have them within striking distance of the Yankees. Alas, a mark of a good club is being able to hold its own on the road and Buck Showalter hasn’t seen that from the Orioles in 2015. Plain and simple, you can’t expect to contend when you play like a 100-loss team on the road.

4. Is it just me or is it time to take a look at Dariel Alvarez and Christian Walker in Baltimore? Instead of more discussion about a crowded outfield of underwhelming veterans, the Orioles should be making room for the 26-year-old Cuban outfielder, who has 13 homers for Triple-A Norfolk and has rebounded nicely after hitting .238 over the first two months of his 2015 campaign. It remains to be seen whether Alvarez profiles as anything more than a reserve outfielder in the majors, but his rifle throwing arm and power are skills worth evaluating while the Orioles continue to receive so little from their current options. It could also be time to take a look at Walker instead of continuing to run Chris Parmelee out to first base and while contemplating a trade of Chris Davis. The 24-year-old got off to a terrible start, but Walker has heated up over the summer and has four homers in his last 10 games.

5. Is it just me or is it difficult to believe the Ravens are entering their 20th season? As the great John Eisenberg penned earlier this week, seeing Forbes magazine rank the Ravens as the 24th most valuable sports franchise in the world was a pleasant reminder of how far the city has come in football perception. It was just two decades ago that Baltimore kids only dreamed of having an NFL team while their parents and grandparents shared stories of Johnny Unitas, Lenny Moore, and Bert Jones. Not only have the Ravens been profitable, but they’ve been a model of consistency on the field with two Super Bowl titles, four AFC championship game appearances, four division titles, and 10 playoff appearances in the last 15 years. While many opine that NFL owners didn’t support the city’s bid for an expansion team in the 1990s because the package was so attractive to owners pondering relocation, the current franchise value only reiterates how wrong the league was in not giving the ball to Baltimore over other cities.

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Orioles call up minor league player of year Walker

Posted on 17 September 2014 by Luke Jones

A day after clinching their first American League East title in 17 years, the Orioles have called up their minor league player of the year.

The club announced Wednesday it had selected the contract of first baseman Christian Walker from Triple-A Norfolk. He will take the place of the suspended Chris Davis on the 40-man roster.

The 23-year-old Walker hit .288 with 53 extra-base hits, 97 runs batted in, and 73 runs scored in 139 games split between Double-A Bowie and the Tides. He had been working out as part of the Orioles’ “taxi squad” in Sarasota this month and is expected to spell veteran Steve Pearce at first base over the final 11 games of the regular season with the division title wrapped up.

Though Walker wasn’t eligible for the Rule 5 draft and did not need to be placed on the 40-man roster this offseason, the Orioles will take this time period as an opportunity to evaluate the 2014 Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year. With Davis scheduled to become a free agent after the 2015 season, many view Walker as the Orioles’ first baseman of the future.

The former South Carolina Gamecock was selected in the fourth round of the 2012 amateur draft.

He will wear jersey No. 18.

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Yastrzemski hits for cycle to headline Orioles minor league recap – 7/5

Posted on 05 July 2014 by WNST Staff

Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Saturday…

-Catcher Steve Clevenger and Shortstop Jemile Weeks recorded two hits each, but the AAA Norfolk Tides fell 6-3 to Charlotte. Starter Nick Additon struggled, allowing four earned runs (eight hits, walk) over just 4.1 innings pitched. Evan Meek worked a scoreless inning in relief.

-Slugging first base prospect Christian Walker clubbed his 20th home run of the season for the AA Bowie Baysox in a 7-1 win over Akron. Leftfielder John Ruettiger added three hits (including a double) and scored three runs in the win.

-Centerfielder Mike Yastrzemski was the star of the night on the farm, becoming the first Frederick Keys player to hit for the cycle since 2005 as the high Single A team beat Lynchburg 17-3. The grandson of Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski collected a second double, scored three runs and drove in five in the victory. Leftfielder Michael Burgess crushed two homers in the win as well.

-Preparing to represent the Orioles in the MLB All-Star Futures Game, pitcher Hunter Harvey was strong again as the Single A Delmarva Shorebirds topped Lakewood 6-3. The former first round pick allowed just one earned run on five hits (three walks) and struck out eight over six innings for his sixth win of the season.

-Notre Dame basketball player Patrick Connaughton worked two perfect innings in his second career start as the rookie level Single A Aberdeen Ironbirds beat Brooklyn 18-2. First baseman Riley Palmer was just a home run short of a cycle himself, hitting three doubles, scoring three runs and adding three RBI in the win.

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