Power-hitting utility man Christian Walker is back with the Arizona Diamondbacks after two months in Triple-A Reno.
During last season’s NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Arizona Diamondbacks had a position player who reached base every time he stepped into the batter’s box. Christian Walker was that player, recording a single and a hit-by-pitch in his two plate appearances. Yes, the sample size was small but the value he provided then is the same value that earned him another call-up on Tuesday with the Diamondbacks: a solid right-handed bat to call on against left-handed pitching.
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The Diamondbacks recalled Walker from Triple-A Reno, sending struggling reliever Matt Andriese to Single-A Visalia to make room.
Earlier this year, Christian Walker played 20 games with Arizona. While he mostly served as a pinch-hitter, he did make two starts and recorded two hits in his final game before heading back to the minors.
Once a fourth-round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, Walker has played parts of four MLB seasons with the Baltimore Orioles (2014-15) and Arizona Diamondbacks (2017-18). While he hasn’t played well enough at the big-league level to warrant a full-time job, he’s done a lot better against lefties than righties.
Christian Walker Career MLB Splits:
- Against LHP: 8-for-32, 3 HR, .908 OPS
- Against RHP: 4-for-31, 1 HR, .548 OPS
(Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference)
On top of that, he’s also crushed minor league pitching at Triple-A Reno.
Since joining Arizona’s farm system in 2017, Walker has hit .305 with 50 home runs in 217 games at Triple-A Reno. Additionally, Walker has shown versatility in the field which makes for another reason why he’s such a good bench player. With Reno, he’s played left field, first base, and third base.
With a lot of left-handed pitching coming up in their future, manager Torey Lovullo sees Christian Walker as an insurance policy. Speaking with Burns & Gambo on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station, Lovullo noted that the move gave the D-Backs “a little bit of freedom” off the bench.
It should be noted that Walker’s lone hit in the 2017 NLDS came against lefty Tony Watson, a former All-Star reliever.