Christian Walker seizes the day – and the D’back’s first base job
Christian Walker could always hit. He just never got a chance.
But now with the trade of longtime star Paul Goldschmidt to the St. Louis Cardinals and the early season injury to Jake Lamb, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ first base job fell to him and he seized it like a man running out of options.
Which arguably he was. At 28, the right-handed hitting Walker had done nothing in his short stints in the majors over the previous five seasons to suggest he was anything other than a very good minor leaguer, the kind who typically winds up in Japan or on a college coaching staff.
But in his first month as a regular in 2019, the Pennsylvania native has proven he belongs, batting .307 with seven home runs, 15 RBI, a .381 on-base percentage and an impressive .994 OPS. Of course, whether he can maintain that production remains to be seen but the early returns certainly are encouraging.
He was drafted out of the University of South Carolina in the fourth round in 2012 by the Baltimore Orioles, where he found himself blocked by the likes of Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo. With no starting job, he bounced between the majors and minors for three seasons before being cut in spring 2017. After being signed and quickly waived by the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds that same spring, he landed with the Snakes, where opportunity eventually knocked.
Walker and the Diamondbacks can be seen in action against the NL West rival San Francisco Giants Saturday, May 25, on Fox Sports 1.
Full name: Christian Dickson Walker
Birth date: March 28, 1991
Birthplace: Norristown, Pa.
Height/weight: 6 feet/220 pounds
Teams: Baltimore Orioles (2014-16), Arizona Diamondbacks (2017-present)
Position: First base
Honors and achievements: At South Carolina, helped the Gamecocks to College World Series titles in 2010 and 2011; played in the 2013 All-Star Futures Game; best minor league season was in 2017, when he batted .309 with 32 home runs, 114 RBI, a .382 on-base percentage and a .980 OPS for AAA Reno of the Pacific Coast League