Walker named 10th best second baseman by MLB Network
Pirates Neil Walker was named the 10th best second baseman right now by MLB Network on Thursday. Here is what the analysts had to say:
Hazel Mae: “Drafted by his hometown Bucs, Neil Walker of the Pittsburgh Pirates cracks our list [at number 10]. Quite a MLB debut for Walker. One in which he finished fifth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting by posting a .296 average, 12 home runs and 66 RBI’s in 110 total games. Walker also put together a 18 game hitting streak in late August. That .296 average was second amongst all National League second baseman with the minimum of 400 plate appearances. Harold, not sure anyone really expected Walker to be on our list. What do we know about this guy?”
Harold Reynolds: “That’s the funny thing. It is right now. If you look at what he did last year in the little bit of time he had up, he’s got an incredible skill set. That’s why he was the number one pick. He’s got nice range. He can go get a ball in the outfield. He’s a switch hitter. He’s not afraid to get rid of the ball, turn double plays. He seems to be learning how to play the game. He’s kind of lost in Pittsburgh right now. They’re building with a lot of young talent. Had he be in a bigger market, I think a lot of people would have been saying, ‘this Neil Walker kid can play a little bit.’”
Mitch Williams: “When you look at what he’s capable of doing. At the plate, he’s a switch hitter hitting for average. It’s not easy to break into the big leagues and hit for average, being a switch hitter. You’re going to be stronger one way or the other. In 110 games, this kid drove in 66 runs as a second baseman. This is where the game is changing. Back when you were a second baseman [referring to Reynolds], you were a get em’ over guy, a two hole hitter, advance runners, do the little things right and field your position.”
Reynolds: “The thing I like, 87 hits after the all-star break. That means, the second half when everyone started adjusting to him, he made great adjustments. I remember the injury he had on the west coast trip [referring to when Walker and Ryan Church collided during a play] and he was able to come back. This kid is going to put up numbers. He’s a nice player.”
The Pirates are making their mark amongst the best in the game right now. Andrew McCutchen was named the #1 Center Fielder. Pedro Alvarez (third base) and Jose Tabata (left field) did not make the top 10 but did receive honorable mentions.