What can we expect?
Let’s be clear there’s major thunder in his bat. Milb’s John Wagner made that clear in a post last summer
"There’s an old saying about power hitters like Rochester’s Adam Walker: when they hit a ball, it stays hit. “His power is as much as I’ve seen, and I’ve been doing this for a while; I’ve seen [Mark] McGwire and [Sammy] Sosa,” said Red Wings skipper Mike Quade, who has been a coach or manager since 1985. “I hate calling it ‘light tower power,’ but there’s some truth to that. When he squares a ball up, it’s incredible.”"
It seems pretty clear that Walked is an all or nothing bat with a K rate that isn’t playable at the major league level. Just a few day ago Jon Shepard over at Camden Depot discussed how Walker might fit there.
". . . Dan Szymborski was kind enough to give me a sneak peek at Walker’s ZIPS projection. He slashed 222/277/449 with 29 home runs. . .37 walks and 237 strikeouts. If Walker is truly a below average defender, as suggested in scouting reports, then he would be a negative WAR player. . . Walker has a skill set that looks very challenging to succeed. . . (one scout) told me that the only reason why he stays on public top 20 organization lists is because he hits home runs off poor pitchers. . .The second . . called him a 30 player (organizational filler) whose power will probably earn him a couple cups of coffee.. . .there are simply too many holes in the zone. . and advanced AAA arms . . .could work the zone and avoid any contact . . . the profile plays nowhere."
Most players would look at 202 strikeouts, hear coaches telling him to work on his plate discipline and try to change. Walker told Wagner he didn’t see his strikeouts as a problem.
"Walker said he will not change his plate approach to limit strikeouts. “I’m not trying to change who I am just to put the ball in play,” he said. “But sometimes I’ve been trying to do too much, trying to hit a ball 600 feet when what I should do is try to put the barrel on it. If I barrel a pitch up, usually good stuff happens.”"
I don’t think there’s much to add to that.
That’s a Wrap
Walker is depth that should give Gwinnett fans something to oooo and aah about. Defensively he has a weak arm and according to Baseball America’s 2015 scouting report ($) “. . .After playing mostly first base in college, Walker’s mechanical issues threaten to make him a defensive liability even in left field. . .” I’m not sure a team that relies on defense and getting on base has a spot for a guy like Walker. Besides, shouldn’t Kemp’s backup be a better glove than Kemp?
I don’t want to be daddy-downer about Walker. I want the young man to succeed and perhaps being passed to three teams in under three months will be the wake-up call he needs. Adding Frenchy might actually help Walker understand he needs to change.
Frenchy knows what happens when you are too hard-headed to listen to your pitching coaches and has a way of talking to younger players. All he has to say is, look what happened to me. The question is, would Walker be willing to listen?