One of the main storylines this Spring Training has been centering around the St. Louis Cardinals top prospect Jordan Walker. A common sentiment has been that he could break camp with the team if he “lights up Spring Training”, but that sentiment seems to be made with the understanding that this level of play would be very unlikely for the 20-year-old prospect fresh out of AA ball. It is just a thing people say to keep from having to say that no matter what Walker will start the season in AAA because that is a boring thing to say. No one wants to hear that.
But what if he does, in fight, light it up? This might be a question the Cardinals have to face. Per John Denton of MLB.com:
“I don’t know what the tipping point is, but he’s continuing to show he’s capable,” Marmol said. “We went into this camp saying there is going to be real competition and that’s what he is making this — a real competition. He’s come in ready, and I’m enjoying watching it.”
In nine Spring Training games Walker is slashing .429/.429/.857 with 12 hits, 2 of them doubles and 3 of them home runs. Of course there are things we cannot see in these stats alone — perhaps most importantly is how he looks in left field, a position he only recently started playing. I haven’t gotten to see very much so far this season, but from what I can glean he could probably use a few more reps in the outfield. And let’s be honest, nine Spring Training games just is not a lot to go on to determine that a player that has yet to play in AAA is ready to make the leap to the majors.
It is super encouraging the Walker is hitting so well, but I still don’t think it makes the team right out of Spring Training, barring an injury, because I just don’t think that is what the Cardinals have planned for him. That doesn’t make it any less exciting to watch him though. And hopefully when he does make the team, he’ll be even more ready.
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