By Jason Shetler
Since taking over at second base for the Pirates in 2010, Neil Walker has quietly been one of the more productive second baseman in baseball. In 2013, he was a key part in leading the Pirates to the postseason, hitting seven home runs during the month of September. Walker continued his good production last season, as he hit a career high 23 homers, becoming the franchise leader for home runs in a season by a second baseman. Here are the stats for Walker the past couple seasons, as well as a FanGraphs projection for 2015.
2013: .251/.339/.418, 114 OPS+, 9% walk rate, 15% strikeout rate, 4.0 WAR in 133 games
2014: .271/.342/.467, 127 OPS+, 8% walk rate, 15% strikeout rate, 3.4 WAR in 137 games
2015 (FanGraphs): .272/.339/.446, 8% walk rate, 15% strikeout rate, 3.2 WAR in 136 games
Walker’s offensive numbers were better last year just about across the board. His defensive metrics however were more favorable in 2013, which was a result of him being a four-win player. Over the past two seasons, he’s posted a decent walk rate, while his strikeout rate has been on the low side at 15%. The FanGraphs projection for Walker this season looks pretty similar to last year.