Neil Walker Brings Steady Bat to Yankees
The Yankees have signed the second baseman Neil Walker to a one-year deal. The signing immediately limits the major league playing time for several rookies.
The 32-year-old Walker has been a steady above-average hitter since joining the league. In just 448 plate appearances last season, he hit .265 with 14 home runs. He’s no longer a threat on the bases and did not steal a single base last season. In a full season of plate appearances, he’s likely to hit 20 home runs with a .270 AVG. The problem is projecting him for that many plate appearances.
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The Yankees have Gleyber Torres (#6 overall prospect) and Miguel Andujar ready to contribute in the majors. If Walker struggles and Torres is tearing up Triple-A, we could see the Yanks make the switch. The problem is guessing if and when this will occur during the season. One possibility is Walker moving to third or first base because of an injury. Walker is good enough to be in a major league lineup all season.
Even with his talent, I’m going to project Walker for only about 400 plate appearances. I don’t think he’ll be in a part-time role. He’s either going to be starting or on the bench. Owners can own and start him when he’s starting and then drop him if he lands on the bench.
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