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What does Walker have to do?

Posted by huhguy , 05 August 2014 · 1,264 views

AB Walker has torn up the FSL, even though its a pitchers league. Whats the hold up in getting him up to AA?




on-base percentage, walk rate and strikeout rate. 

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you cant be serious....the all time Miracle Home Run Champion has to increase his obp and cut down on his strikeouts?  You dont remember Dave Kingman do you?

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I like Walker a lot.  He strikes out far too often though, and he hardly takes a walk.  He'll probably start in AA next year.  It doesn't make a ton of sense for him to go up to AA just to have his season be done in a little over 3 weeks.  If stays in A+, he will get some more playoff experience.  That's valuable too.

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Well reasoned and I agree

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At this point, I agree it's too late to move him. Should have happened earlier. I think it really is a mistake to get all bent out of shape about his walk rate and strikeout rate right now, especially in Fort Myers. He should have been moved to New Britain three or so weeks ago. I would have rather had him spend extended time in AA then spend even this much time in A+.

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lightfoot789
Aug 05 2014 07:32 PM

His strikeout rates over 3 seasons have been - 30.2% (rookie) - 20.8% (A ball) - 28.5% (high A).  Last year he improved greatly in terms of K%.  This year he traveled upward again with K rate.  That being said:  He has shown the ability to lower it within a season.  He may never walk alot.  Neither does Polanco. 

 

The down side this year is, he has such a low BA & OBP.  Again - That being said:  He gets on base less than everyone on his team but scores more runs than everyone on his team.  He is either the luckiest player in baseball or somehow has an intangible that makes for winning baseball.  Walker is 6th in the league in scored runs / 1st in HRs by 8 / and 1st in RBI.  Maybe, that is just who he is (in addition to the low BA & OBP)An offensive force!!  He should have been afforded the chance to go to AA and do the same thing.  If he failed - He could have repeated AA next year and had a jump on the league. 

 

81 RBI and 22 HR in the pitching league FSL (not bad with 25 games left). 

 

Name a player in any league who can lead his team in HRs by 12 more than the next closest teammate and not earn a promotion.  Name a player in any league who can lead his team in RBI by 23 more than the next closest teammate and not earn a promotion.  With all his risky swing and miss and high K rate - He has only stayed consisitent in his league production (1st).   He is having a bad year for ABW but a productive year for the FSL.  Put it in perspective.  The highest BA last year for anyone with 125 games in was .289 in the FSL.  Not a very hitter friendly league..

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Twins Twerp
Aug 06 2014 06:12 AM
Man is this site promotion crazy. No way should he be promoted. Cant we just say he is having a good season instead of ripping the Twins. This guy strikes out over a quarter of the time...in high A. I honestly do not see him being able to handle big league pitching. He might be a top 20 prospect...but abwii has a long way to go.
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Lightfoot, some great stats. Thanks for that.

 

.289...makes .248 not look so bad.

 

To the runs scored point, Walker is a very good baserunner (much like Dozier)...he seems to advance a base when others wouldn't, steal a base in situations that are required/needed...and then his hits typically are of a higher slugging % variety.

 

I think he's fine at A+ this year and I think he'll start next year at AA. He'll be a 'slower' path to the big leagues, but I think he'll get there.

 

Jose Abreu, a much better hitter than Walker is similar, scores a good deal of runs, lots of RBI, but a very low OBP. He's been on fire to get his average up over .300, but still his OBP is only .330. For perspective, that's a lower OBP than Aaron Hicks, who hit .185.

 

So he's a different kind of player. Is that a player valuable enough to the Twins to put him on the MLB roster? I don't know. Perhaps a matter of philosophy. Just like the A's sold Cespedes rather easily (not a high OBP% guy) for a half a season Lester rental, the Twins may not regard players like Walker with much regard. Perhaps rightly so.

 

I like Walker, from everything I've read on the guy - wonderful character, not entitled, a willing learner. I think he'll be as good as he can be and not be a hindrance to whatever that may be unlike many athletes who are their own worst enemies.

 

I see a similar 'success' for Walker at AA next year. He'll be 23 next year in a league that averages 24.7 to 25.8 on average. So he'll be almost 2 years younger than most of the league. For perspective, Aaron Hicks is 24 in AA. So he could 'toil' for 2 years and still be at the Hicks level of development.

 

I think it's probably the best bet, if we're going to see Walker play MLB, he'll be 24-25 when that happens.

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diehardtwinsfan
Aug 06 2014 09:56 AM

I think Walker should repeat A+.  He's striking out way too often and is not making nearly enough contact.  Yes, he can punish mistakes, but he gets less of those as he goes through the system and if he doesn't fix his contact problems, it's only going to get more difficult.  He might hit some home runs, but 15-20 while having an average below the mendoza line will not make for a good player. 

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clutterheart
Aug 06 2014 11:00 AM

Reports I have read said he can't hit balls with movement and is a guess/mistake hitter.

 

When he connects it goes a long way, but as he faces pitchers who can keep him off balance he will fail.

 

I have never seen him play, but from what I have read/heard, he will struggle in AA because the pitchers are better.  If he goes up without changing his approach, he could set records for # of Strike outs

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lightfoot789
Aug 06 2014 09:33 PM

"He will struggle at the next level" in terms of contact rate.  That was the consensus after his rookie level when he led the league in K's (28%) and held a  .310 OBP. 

 

He followed that season up with a K rate 10% lower @ (20%) and a  .319 OBP. 

 

And again it was said "He will struggle at the next level" in terms of contact rate.  And he has!  Although he holds a consistent OBP of  .300 again and his K rate has risen to 28% (again).

 

Consider this:  If Walker were able to hold on to his consistency (Like he has accomplished for 3 straight years) and lead the American League in HRs and RBI and possibly K rate with a .310 OBP (3 years from now) -

 

WOULD YOU WANT HIM & HIS CONSISTENT TOP LEVEL PRODUCTION (with flaws) ON THE TWINS?

Why or Why Not?

 

If Yes - When would you give a player like Walker his chance for promotion? 

 

He may never be an OBP guy.  He may just be a guy, who leads the league in HRs and RBI every year.   I'm sure he wants more too, but I'll take what he's offering now.  Consistent production.

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Lightfoot, I generally agree with you. I don't really understand the view that players have to master each level before they are promoted. Plenty of other organizations would have pushed Walker to AA by now. I like the idea of pushing talent to Cedar Rapids as fast as possible and then to New Britain as the next real test. In Walker's case, I really wouldn't advise wasting that power potential!

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I don't get the rush. The guy doesn't need to be added to the 40 man roster for another year or two. He'll be 23 years old in AA next year.

 

No one is saying that if he puts up these kind of numbers in the big leagues, he won't be just fine as a player. There's a reason he's not a Twins top prospect. He'll never be a high, high average guy, and he will always strike out, but there's no harm in trying to cut down on the Ks. The game does get harder and pitchers do get smarter and have better stuff as they move up.

 

The Twins are a team that has its top prospects generally spend 1/2 year in Ft. Myers and 1/2 year in AA in a season. It's not about age or anything like that.It's about the evaluators believing he can be successful. I'll trust Mientkiewicz and Jim Dwyer in their evaluation that the best thing for him is to stick there for the full season. 

 

Also, very few players with sub-.300 OBP last in the big leagues very long... So I do think it's important for him to make these adjustments. So, in my opinion, this is a clear case where spending the full season in Ft. Myers, I believe, is the right there.

 

People can show examples like Jose Abreu as a guy with a low-OBP, but it's still .330. People can suggest that Alfonso Soriano is a guy who had a long, productive career despite a low OBP... I'd say that's the exception. 

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lightfoot789
Aug 07 2014 05:50 AM

Seth - I'm not saying that promoting Walker is a rush, I'm saying it's the right thing to do in his situation.  He is a college kid who has experienced failure before and knows how to handle it.  Why not test him at the AA level and let him see what adjustments he needs to make in the off season - so he can come back ready to master the AA level next year.  Why does he have to start each year out blind to the competition?

 

I would think that HIcks and Arcia should be aware of some of the pitfalls of MLB pitching a little better next year as opposed to this year.   Throw the kid (Walker) a bone and let him find out what AA is like, so he can spend the off season working on those adjustments.

 

He will probably head to AA after spring training next March?  Would you agree?  He had a low average and OBP last year and was promoted for his production.  He has a low BA and OBP this year and will be probably promoted due to his production again.  If you don't have plans on repeating a guy because of his production - Why keep him at a particular level all year? 

 

We all want to assume that playing at a lower level again or longer helps you get back in the groove.  Not always the case.  Sometimes it just throws off your game (Buxton / JD Williams / Etc.).  Sometmes players should be treated like their special (Soriano / Abreu / Etc.) or as the "exception to the rule" at an early age so you can send them back if need be.  Cookie cutter format is not the right move in this case IMO.

 

A side note:  Walker is the only college position player from the 3rd round / 2012 draft to still be in the FSL.  If someone else is still in FSL - they missed a season or most of a season due to injury.  Walker is the only 3rd rounder (position player / 2012) to still be in High A for that matter, in all of minor league baseball.  He leads all of those players in HRs and RBI over that span of time as well.  Throw the kid a bone Seth.  What harm could it do?  He's 22 like you said with a good head on his shoulder.  He understands failure - Let him fail completely if need be - so he can learn and adjust.  Not have half and half success (production = low BA/OBP).

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