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 Post subject: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:32 pm 
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I often think about this guy and where he fits in with the future plans of the org. I don't know if anyone else caught Neal Huntington's comment on the telecast Monday night, but he was quoted as saying Walker is the best fielding 3Bman in the org. Now, this might not be saying much, but the guy never played the position until about 14 months ago. He appears blocked right now by LaRoche, and may have Alvarez breathing down his neck in a year, so what to do?

Could he learn to play second? He seems athletic enough, but may not have the range.

Will he be a good enough hitter to play a corner infield position?

Will Alvarez be moved across the diamond?

Will Neil's AAA performance this year make Andy LaRoche trade bait?

All of these factors will play into it.


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 Post subject: Re: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:00 pm 
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IF Walker shows he can hit this year.

Your 2010 INF.

1b Alverez
2b A LaRoche
SS TBD
3d Walker.

If not, Walker will be a utility guy/Sunday afternoon player.

I would also look for a couple of the unheralded draft picks from last year to make a splash at 3b.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:26 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
IF Walker shows he can hit this year.

Your 2010 INF.

1b Alverez
2b A LaRoche
SS TBD
3d Walker.

If not, Walker will be a utility guy/Sunday afternoon player.

I would also look for a couple of the unheralded draft picks from last year to make a splash at 3b.

ZM


Negrych? I heard they moved him back over to 2B.


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 Post subject: Re: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:26 pm 
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He could be trade bait too.


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 Post subject: Re: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:31 pm 
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I am glad that will we be in the tough position of having a surplus of talent at certain spots. Far better situation than before.


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 Post subject: Re: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:51 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
IF Walker shows he can hit this year.

Your 2010 INF.

1b Alverez
2b A LaRoche
SS TBD
3d Walker.

If not, Walker will be a utility guy/Sunday afternoon player.

I would also look for a couple of the unheralded draft picks from last year to make a splash at 3b.

ZM

Why would Andy LaRoche be a better fit for 2B than Walker?

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 Post subject: Re: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 4:31 pm 
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Yes. Walker can hit a much better long ball... if he can connect, and is a much better athelete who has much quicker feet and more accurate arm. In short, you can hide LaRoches shortcomings at 2nd base, his relative lack of atheticism and weaker arm, while Walker's superior defense and power are better suited to third.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:21 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
Yes. Walker can hit a much better long ball... if he can connect, and is a much better athelete who has much quicker feet and more accurate arm. In short, you can hide LaRoches shortcomings at 2nd base, his relative lack of atheticism and weaker arm, while Walker's superior defense and power are better suited to third.

ZM

Not sure what a "much better long ball" is — as long as it lands on the other side of the fence, I couldn't care less about the aesthetics of it — but the assertion that Neil Walker has superior power to Andy Laroche just seems flat-out wrong.

In 6 MiL seasons, Walker has averaged 10 HRs, .426 SLG, .156 ISO.

In 5 MiL seasons, Laroche averaged 15.8 HRs, .517 SLG, .222 ISO.

I understand the local-boy-makes-good aspect of the Neil Walker situation, but I honestly have a hard time seeing him as anything more than an AAAA guy. Especially with Alvarez coming up in his rearview.

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 Post subject: Re: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:27 pm 
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LtCol Kojak Slaphead wrote:

I understand the local-boy-makes-good aspect of the Neil Walker situation, but I honestly have a hard time seeing him as anything more than an AAAA guy. Especially with Alvarez coming up in his rearview.


Agree with everything you said regarding Laroche-Walker comparisons, however, I think any honest discussion of Pedro Alvarez has to assume he is a 1Bman.

If both Laroche and Walker can hit at the big league level (both still need to show that, mind you) then I would predict Walker is tried at 2nd, or one of them is traded. The other will be our 3bman. Of course, that brings Shelby Ford into the discussion...


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 Post subject: Re: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:43 pm 
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Shelby Ford may be the second baseman in 2010 or 2011.

I still think that Andy Laroche is the only guy besides Alvarez who has the offense to justify playing 3B.


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 Post subject: Re: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:47 pm 
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LtCol Kojak Slaphead wrote:
ZelieMike wrote:
Yes. Walker can hit a much better long ball... if he can connect, and is a much better athelete who has much quicker feet and more accurate arm. In short, you can hide LaRoches shortcomings at 2nd base, his relative lack of atheticism and weaker arm, while Walker's superior defense and power are better suited to third.

ZM

Not sure what a "much better long ball" is — as long as it lands on the other side of the fence, I couldn't care less about the aesthetics of it — but the assertion that Neil Walker has superior power to Andy Laroche just seems flat-out wrong.

In 6 MiL seasons, Walker has averaged 10 HRs, .426 SLG, .156 ISO.

In 5 MiL seasons, Laroche averaged 15.8 HRs, .517 SLG, .222 ISO.

I understand the local-boy-makes-good aspect of the Neil Walker situation, but I honestly have a hard time seeing him as anything more than an AAAA guy. Especially with Alvarez coming up in his rearview.

That's what I was going to say. Walker has not shown anything quite like the power Andy LaRoche has shown to possess. Moreover, how either hit should not enter the discussion if the concern is where each player should play defensively if we must play both.

If Walker is the better athlete as ZM claims, then I would think that Walker would be the better candidate for 2B, not LaRoche. Second base is a far more difficult position to play defensively, and if Walker is more athletic than LaRoche (an assertion I'm willing to believe, though that has yet to be shown), then it is Walker that should be in line for a position change that goes up the defensive spectrum.

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 Post subject: Re: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:58 pm 
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As it goes for the 3 spots that we are assuming will be open for the 2010 season.1st, 2nd, and 3rd, and we have 4 players to fill those slots in An.LaRoche, Walker, Ford, and Alvarez.I would have to say if they all stay with the team the odd man out is Pedro Alvarez just because of his age.If we have the option not to rush somebody that has just turned 22(only 5 months older than me) don't rush him.


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 Post subject: Re: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:41 pm 
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You guys really think Alvarez could be big league-ready by Opening Day 2010?


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 Post subject: Re: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:08 pm 
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doug frobel wrote:
I often think about this guy and where he fits in with the future plans of the org. I don't know if anyone else caught Neal Huntington's comment on the telecast Monday night, but he was quoted as saying Walker is the best fielding 3Bman in the org. Now, this might not be saying much, but the guy never played the position until about 14 months ago. He appears blocked right now by LaRoche, and may have Alvarez breathing down his neck in a year, so what to do?

Could he learn to play second? He seems athletic enough, but may not have the range.

Will he be a good enough hitter to play a corner infield position?

Will Alvarez be moved across the diamond?

Will Neil's AAA performance this year make Andy LaRoche trade bait?

All of these factors will play into it.

I think that Walker might be able to handle second. The real question, though, is whether or not his bat can handle major league pitching. So far, i'd have to say no. This year will be very important for him.

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 Post subject: Re: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:09 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
IF Walker shows he can hit this year.

Your 2010 INF.

1b Alverez
2b A LaRoche
SS TBD
3d Walker.

If not, Walker will be a utility guy/Sunday afternoon player.

I would also look for a couple of the unheralded draft picks from last year to make a splash at 3b.

ZM

LaRoche will never play second base in the major leagues, except perhaps deep in an extra inning game after an injury.

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 Post subject: Re: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:15 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
Yes. Walker can hit a much better long ball... if he can connect, and is a much better athelete who has much quicker feet and more accurate arm. In short, you can hide LaRoches shortcomings at 2nd base, his relative lack of atheticism and weaker arm, while Walker's superior defense and power are better suited to third.

ZM

1. Second basemen require much more range than third baseman, and I suspect that gives the advantage to Walker. I can't say for sure, though, since I haven't seen him play much in the field.

2. LaRoche has much, much more power at the plate than Walker. It's not even close.

http://minors.baseball-reference.com/pl ... i?pid=8101

http://minors.baseball-reference.com/pl ... ?pid=15267

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 Post subject: Re: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:57 pm 
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Add McCutchen and Tabata to the OF with Nate, Moss is a possible 1st base guy too with Pedro...

Some talk was about trying Walker in the OF too...

Its nice to see theres lots of options at multiple positions

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 Post subject: Re: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 5:32 am 
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doug frobel wrote:
You guys really think Alvarez could be big league-ready by Opening Day 2010?


I don't think so.I think 2011 is his year.Maybe a September call up in 2010


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 Post subject: Re: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:16 am 
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Colin21 wrote:
]I don't think so.I think 2011 is his year.Maybe a September call up in 2010


Unless Pedro completely bombs this year, that's way too conservative. I think he gets the Longoria-Wieters treatment and is called up in April or May of '10. He needs to be moved along aggressively.

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 Post subject: Re: What will be the future of Neil Walker?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:55 am 
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LtCol Kojak Slaphead wrote:
Colin21 wrote:
]I don't think so.I think 2011 is his year.Maybe a September call up in 2010


Unless Pedro completely bombs this year, that's way too conservative. I think he gets the Longoria-Wieters treatment and is called up in April or May of '10. He needs to be moved along aggressively.


Completely agree. I think I will be in Altoona by June of this year. He opens next year in Indy and is called up in May...that sounds about right.


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