Big Lead Sports Bar



For those of you who expected Pine Richland's Neil Walker to finally make the Pirates' opening day roster, you're going to have to have a little more patience, because it's not happening this year. The Buccos' 2004 first-round pick, now 23 years old, will be joining the recently-demoted Tom Gorzelanny in Indianapolis to start the 2009 campaign. The reason for Walker's demotion was simple: he's not quite ready for the majors offensively, and if he happened to get injured before Saturday, he would've been required to go on the Major League DL and therefore start his closely-monitored "service time". Well, when put that way, I guess it's not so simple. Of course, nothing is ever simple in Pirateland.

Walker was hitting .231 in this year's camp with seven walks, which is hardly enough to make a case for a full-time gig. Last year at Indianapolis, he hit .242 with 16 HR and 80 RBI in 133 games, which was apparently good enough to win him team MVP honors. According to Baseball Prospectus, he's the Pirates' #8 prospect, designated as "two stars".

Walker was drafted in 2004 amid much local fanfare, given the fact they usually don't pick WPIAL players in the first round. But he's had a bit of a rough go since then, injuring his wrist after the 2005 season in the Arizona Fall League. He struggled to bounce back in 2006, then had to deal with a position change in 2007, as he moved from catcher to third base at Double-A Altoona. He should benefit from the additional work at Indianapolis, but at age 23, the clock is definitely ticking on his "prospect" status.

Pirates send Walker to minors on contract technicality [PG]

Send your news, tips, and links to


The Duke from Dukes Court said...

When they took that picture of Walker he must have been thinking: "why did they move me to 3b?"

Jeff_King_Fan said...

either that or, "how can i ever live up to the greatness that is Jeffery King?"