Dedication pays off for Walker
It has been a long journey for Rookie second baseman Neil Walker but without all his hard work and dedication it wouldn’t be possible.
“I knew this was a huge year for me, but I don’t think it was make-or-break — well, maybe it was, within this organization,” Walker said. “I definitely felt like my time was coming.”
Walker was a first round pick in the 2004 draft, spent nearly three years at Triple-A Indy before he was given a real shot at the bigs. Drafted as a catcher, he was moved to third base in 2007. But with Alvarez and LaRoche in front of him, he was eventually moved to second base.
“I truly believe in my abilities. I truly believe I can play at this level,” Walker said. “But, position-wise, I had no idea where I’d be. I certainly didn’t see myself playing second base.”
“My mindset was, I was going to take advantage of an opportunity, no matter where (on the field) it was,” Walker said.
“Moving to second base was (Walker’s) idea — he came to us about it before we went to him, which was great,” Huntington said. “He swung the bat and worked his tail off, and for that he deserves a ton of credit.”
When Steve Pearce was injured in May, Walker got his second call up to the majors and he never looked back.
Walker ended his rookie season with a .296 batting average, 12 home runs, 66 RBI and 57 runs scored. He also ends the season with a great attitude.
“I can’t go into spring training with the mindset that I’ve got this team made at second base,” Walker said. “I have to find a way to get better, to be a leader. You have to find a way to stay hungry.”