- Rating: 7.67
- Age: 28
- 2019 stats: .259/.348/.476 2.8bWAR
- 2019 salary: league minimum, pre-arbitration
- 2020 status: Pre-Arb Wont hit free agency until 2025
The dawn of 2019 was our first season without the vaunted Goldy: He of the Eternal Home Run, He of the Forever Golden Glove, Bane of Timmy, among many other titles. Big shoes to fill....
Needless to say most of us on the SnakePit had no reason to think much of anything would come from either Lamb manning 1st, or his platoon partner in Walker. Expectations were low for the team, but especially for 1st base with Walker having only started 5 games in 2018 and Lamb being pretty much all over the place with his availability and production that year as well.
I’d write a bit more about Walker here, but regrettably (or blessedly?) Walker won our very own ROY voting, so our fearless leader Jim covered much of the background already.
Essentially though Thiccness Walker was stuck behind All Star 1st basemen from day one of his career until 2019, where he would finally have his chance to shine.
So how’d he do in 2019?
2019 Review: Down with the Thiccness
Pretty solid. Very solid. Almost as good as Goldy (in a Cards uni)
Walker started off the year with a bang homering in his first two games off our good buddies the Doyers. As Jim noted in his article, that start was to be his only one in the opening series, and might have likely signaled the beginning of a long series of trade offs with Lamb.
Fate had other plans though...
April 3rd saw Lamb go down with a strain of his left quad, and quite suddenly Walker found himself as THE 1st baseman.
Christian “Thiccness” Walker (as some of us on the Brute Squad called him) nearly spelled Goldy in month of April, driving in 15 RBI, crushing 7 bombs and putting up an impressive .994 OPS. By the end of that month many of us (jokingly) asked ourselves “Goldy who?”
Walker wasn’t perfect though, and May saw him struggle mightily at the plate. Lovullo chose to stick with Walker throughout his struggles (batted .208 that month) and throughout the rest of the season Walker put up respectable numbers at the plate, enough to land him as our ROY and close to the top of this player review series.
Probably one of the most bizarre things about Christian Walker’s season was how eerily similar it was to Goldy’s season with the Cards. Jim compared the stats artfully here, but if you’re too lazily to click the hyperlink and scroll down the number basically show much the same production for both players; one the Golden God of 1st Base and the other the 28yr old “rookie”. Strange stuff huh?
Also, and it’s worth noting, Walker was very much an asset with his glove as well. Outside of the losing Goldy’s vaunted bat I worried almost as much about losing his glove. Walker though did an admirable job, and I feel it might have been his glove more than his bat that insured Cron didn’t get more than a cup of coffee in 2019.
2020 Commentary: More Thiccness Please?
So where does that absolutely solid 2019 campaign leave Walker in 2020?
I’ve spoken about Walker’s 2020 status with my fellow Brutes quite extensively, and he represents a bit of an odd duck situation for this Hazen lead squad.
On the one hand the D-backs have him under control for quite a long time; all the way through 2025. On the other hand though he’s a 28yr old rookie, meaning his developmental ceiling might already have been reached and the cruel fate of age regression looms.
So though while it’s awesome to have him under control through his 33rd bday, what does that mean for Seth Beer(23) or Kevin Cron (26)? Either might ultimately be the better choices for the long run and both could have higher ceilings that Walker.
I feel that Hazen, who’s been tirelessly upgrading the farm system and acquiring young starters, might opt to sell high on Walker either this off season or next. We have the infield talent either ready or close to ready to fill his spot and have HUGE need for outfielders.
Or Hazen just sticks with Walker through 2020 and beyond. He’s got power, he gets on base and he’s got a competent glove. I’ll be happy to have another season o 25+ thicc dongs and great plays at 1st. Why the heck not?