Neil Walker
Neil Walker
33-Year-Old Second Baseman2B
Miami Marlins
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Walker had been at least a two-win player (per FanGraphs) in seven straight seasons prior to 2018, when he logged a 0.1 fWAR in 113 games with the Yankees. His significant dropoff at the plate was only partially supported by the underlying numbers. His 21.9 K% was his worst MLB mark over a full season, but he has a 17.8 K% for his career, and still walked over 10% of the time, so his plate skills did not completely erode. Walker actually posted a higher Hard% (37.9) and lower Soft% (17.4) than he did in 2017, when he slashed .265/.362/.439 across stops with the Mets and Brewers. Leaning on BABIP for single-season evaluations often oversimplifies things, but Walker's .257 BABIP (career .302 mark) seems to be the primary culprit for his extreme dip in production. Unfortunately, he is now a below-average defender at second base, so it may be tough for him to get significant playing time with a team in his age-33 season. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Marlins in January of 2019.
Remains out vs. lefty
2BMiami Marlins
April 17, 2019
Walker is not in the lineup Wednesday against the Cubs.
Walker will sit for a second straight game with another left-hander in Cole Hamels starting for the opposition. Martin Prado will take over at first base in his stead, hitting second.
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Batting Order Slot Breakdown
vs Right-Handed Pitchers
vs RHP
vs Left-Handed Pitchers
vs LHP
Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2017
Since 2017vs Left .539 188 12 1 11 0 .188 .278 .261
Since 2017vs Right .785 717 100 27 87 1 .256 .349 .436
2019vs Left .347 9 1 0 0 0 .125 .222 .125
2019vs Right .757 50 4 3 3 1 .239 .300 .457
2018vs Left .477 82 4 1 6 0 .164 .244 .233
2018vs Right .713 316 44 10 40 0 .234 .326 .387
2017vs Left .610 97 7 0 5 0 .214 .313 .298
2017vs Right .854 351 52 14 44 0 .279 .376 .478
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2017
Even Split
OPS at Home
OPS at Home
OPS on Road
Since 2017Home .734 468 57 14 48 1 .240 .336 .398
Since 2017Away .733 437 55 14 50 0 .244 .332 .402
2019Home .744 38 4 2 2 1 .257 .316 .429
2019Away .607 21 1 1 1 0 .158 .238 .368
2018Home .722 194 24 5 21 0 .238 .351 .372
2018Away .608 204 24 6 25 0 .202 .270 .339
2017Home .740 236 29 7 25 0 .238 .328 .413
2017Away .870 212 30 7 24 0 .296 .401 .469
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Stat Review
How does Neil Walker compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
BB Rate
K Rate
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
After playing a season and a half with the Mets, Walker was traded to the Brewers in a mid-August move, and he solidified the second base position for the club the rest of the way. He finished the year with his fewest home runs since 2012, but in fairness he was limited for a second straight season by injuries. Over his final stretch of the season with the Brewers, he posted an .842 OPS, heading into free agency on a high note. The Brewers have not ruled out bringing Walker back, but he figures to garner interest from several teams as a veteran switch-hitter. At age 32 and coming off back-to-back injury-shortened seasons, however, it's hard to see his fantasy stock improving much moving forward, but that should still be enough for him to provide value at a second-base position that thins out after the top players come off the board.
Walker was acquired by the Mets to replace the departed Daniel Murphy at second base. His season ended prematurely in late August, and he needed back surgery in early September to repair herniated discs. To that point, he was enjoying an outstanding campaign, matching his career-best 23 homers and sporting the second-best batting average of his career. Despite the procedure requiring a three-month recovery, the Mets extended Walker a qualifying offer for 2017, which he promptly accepted. Walker's 2016 power surge was a result of lofting more batted balls in tandem with recording his highest HR/FB% in the bigs. Walker's home parks are slightly favorable to left-handed power, suggesting he's likely to undergo a regression in HR/FB, regardless of health. If healthy, Walker is a solid middle-infield option, likely available at a discount as many will chase the shining stars populating the second base and shortstop positions.
Through the first half of 2015, Walker batted .259 with four homers and 24 RBI. By season’s end, the second baseman finished with his customary line: .269 BA, 16 homers and 71 RBI. In fact, Walker’s .158 ISO ranked second behind only Andrew McCutchen (.196) among qualified players in Pittsburgh. The 30-year-old will be looking to put up representative numbers as he enters his first season with the Mets following an offseason trade, and owners can expect another typical campaign from the reliable Walker, but beware he could lose out on at-bats against lefties after managing just a .237/.284/.290 line against southpaws in 2015.
Walker led all major league second basemen with 23 homers and finished second at the position in the NL with an .809 OPS. He compiled a .271/.342/.467 line in 512 at-bats while playing in 137 games (the second-highest total in his six seasons) and his .195 ISO represented a career high. After batting just .225 from the right side in 2013, the switch-hitter improved to .280. Back injuries are always a concern with Walker, but he's proven to be a reliable fantasy option over the past several campaigns. His defense has slipped in recent years (-8.4 UZR/150) and he could be moved to the outfield at some point in the future. For now, though, Walker remains one of the better second basemen in the league.
Walker hit .251/.339/.418 in 478 at-bats for Pittsburgh in 2013. He belted a career-high 16 homers, but saw his numbers continue to decline against southpaws. The Pittsburgh Kid hit just .225 with a .518 OPS in 80 at-bats against lefties and struggled so mightily that the Bucs benched him on occasion. As a left-handed batter, Walker hit all 16 of his longballs and compiled an impressive .805 OPS. Overall, his 50:85 BB:K ratio was the best of his five-year career. Given that Walker entered 2013 as a question mark because of a herniated disc injury, his season wasn't too shabby. He made $3.3 million last year and that price tag could force him out of the Pirates' plans at some point. For now, though, he figures to serve as Pittsburgh's primary second baseman yet again in 2014.
Walker missed 30 of the Pirates' final 45 games with a herniated disc back injury. He expects to be ready for 2013, but the injury is potentially chronic. When healthy, the Pittsburgh native provides consistent offensive production. Last year, he batted .280/.342/.426 with 14 homers and 69 RBI in 472 at-bats. The 28-year-old will be eligible for arbitration following the 2013 season, giving him further incentive for big numbers. Despite a respectable .280 career batting average, Walker has always struggled with walks and strikeouts and last year was no exception. He posted a 47:104 BB:K, in line with his career numbers. Given that he typically bats ahead of Andrew McCutchen, Walker figures to see more than his fair share of good pitches to hit -- provided he can stay healthy.
The switch-hitting second baseman served as the Pirates' cleanup hitter for much of 2011 and finished with a .273/.334/.408 slash line in 596 at-bats. He hit 12 dingers and drove in 83 runs for a team that struggled to produce offense. Walker batted 60 points higher from the fifth spot than fourth (.314 to .254, respectively). He's one of the better fantasy options available in Pittsburgh and would benefit from the addition of another stick in the lineup. He should come close to his numbers again in 2012 with the upside of a possible .290-300 batting average after he hit .296 as a rookie in 2010.
Walker represented one of the biggest major league surprises in 2010. Flailing away in the minors since being drafted in the first round by Pittsburgh in 2004, time seemed to be running out on the switch-hitter. Combine a dismal 2009 showing with the Bucs - 7-for-35 with one double and no RBI - and it looked like the writing was on the wall. Fast forward to May 2010. Injuries struck the Pirates' infield, and GM Neal Huntington begrudgingly recalled Walker while dubbing him as the team's backup corner infielder. Thanks to Aki Iwamura's failure at second, Walker got a chance at a position he never played in the minors. He took to it like water and wound up giving the team a reliable infielder on both sides of the ball. The Pittsburgh native hit .296/.349/.462 with 29 doubles, 12 home runs and 66 RBI in 426 at-bats. A bulb went off in Walker's head last year, but it would be unwise banking on him as a sure thing, especially given that his career minor league line in seven years is just .273/.322/.441.
Walker's major league debut with the Pirates was downright putrid in 2009. The Pittsburgh native complained about being passed over by current general manager Neal Huntington's draft picks -- Walker was selected by former GM David Littlefield, but his .195/.275/.222 line failed to back up his words. The 24-year-old third baseman is at a crossroads in his career. Super prospect Pedro Alvarez will likely take over third base some time in 2010, leaving Walker looking for another path to the majors. At some point, the Pirates will likely attempt to trade the disappointing 2004 No. 1 draft choice.
No one felt the impact of the Pirates' choice of Pedro Alvarez more than Walker. The Pittsburgh native went from the next in line to third on the organizational depth chart behind Andy LaRoche and Alvarez. General manager Neal Huntington says the moves were simply an attempt to acquire the best players available, but it's clear that the organization hasn't been overly excited with Walker's progress since taking him No. 1 in 2004. Walker did a good job defensively in his first full year at third base after being moved from catcher, but his hitting has stagnated. Still only 23, Walker batted .242 with 16 homers and 80 RBI for Triple-A Indianapolis, but his 29:102 K:BB ratio suggest there's more work to be done. He'll likely spend the 2009 campaign at Triple-A with a chance at a September callup.
Walker rebounded from a poor 2006 season with a strong showing in 2007, considering he switched positions from catcher to third base in spring training. He batted .288/.362/.462 in 117 games at Altoona before struggling the last month of the season at Triple-A, where he hit just .203 in 64 at-bats. The 22-year-old made 25 errors at the hot corner and has plenty of work to do there, though his instincts are good. If the Pirates experiment with Walker fails, there's always the chance the organization could move him to the outfield, where he could concentrate on his offense. It's still too early to say what position will end up playing in the big leagues, but at some point the team will need to find out, especially if his bat forces the Bucs to make a decision. That said, it's unlikely Walker will make his major league debut any earlier than August 2008, if then.
Walker underwent offseason wrist surgery before the 2006 season and lost his power as a result. The switch-hitting catcher ended up missing the season's first six weeks because of the surgery and totaled five home runs between High-A Lynchburg and Double-A Altoona. In 2005 Walker swatted 12 dingers and the Pirates hope his power drop was only a temporary result of his wrist surgery. He'll probably start the 2007 season at Double-A with a promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis provided he produces. There's really no spot for him on the Pirates, but the team will gladly make room for him on a regular basis as soon as 2008.
Keeper league alert: Walker batted .301 (12/68/7) for Single-A Hickory in 2005 and could easily move up to Double-A by the end of the 2006 season. He's got both the batting eye and power to make the move to the majors within the next year or two. Because of his athleticism, the Pirates may try him at third base, just to speed his climb to the majors. Walker brings a football mentality to the catching position. He starred at Pine Richland High School, a Pittsburgh suburb, as an all-state wide receiver. At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, the switch-hitting catcher has all of the physical tools to succeed at the major-league level, and comes complete with a big-league background -- his dad, Tom, pitched for the Montreal Expos. Still just 20 years of age, the 2004 No. 1 pick participated in the Arizona Fall League against older competition and held his own (hitting .265).
Pittsburgh drafted a local product in Walker with their first pick in the 2004 draft. His tools as a projected backstop are top drawer and his bat was one of the best from the high-school ranks last year. At 19, he is still a few years away but he projects as a solid major league catcher down the road.
The 18-year-old was the top backstop in the 2004 draft and one of the top three high school hitters. He has strong catching tools and projects to be a catcher at the major league level.
More Fantasy News
Sitting vs. lefty
2BMiami Marlins
April 16, 2019
Walker is out of Tuesday's lineup against the Cubs, Joe Frisaro of reports.
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Swats third homer
2BMiami Marlins
April 14, 2019
Walker went 2-for-5 with a solo home run in Saturday's win over the Phillies.
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Hits second homer
2BMiami Marlins
April 10, 2019
Walker went 1-for-3 with a solo home run and a walk Wednesday against the Reds.
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Hits bench against lefty
2BMiami Marlins
April 7, 2019
Walker is not in the lineup for Sunday's game against Atlanta, Joe Frisaro of reports.
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Out against another lefty
2BMiami Marlins
April 2, 2019
Walker is on the bench Tuesday against the Mets.
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