ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

D-backs’ Christian Walker starting to rack up hits: ‘It’s about trusting myself’

May 11, 2022, 12:42 PM | Updated: 12:52 pm
Christian Walker #53 of the Arizona Diamondbacks bats against the Washington Nationals at Nationals...
Christian Walker #53 of the Arizona Diamondbacks bats against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 21, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker has been one of the hardest hitters in Major League Baseball this season in the most literal terms.

He is walloping the ball with an average exit velocity of 92 miles per hour, which is 26th in the league, according to Statcast.

His 12% barrels per plate appearance average is sixth in MLB, while the top three players in order are the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge, the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout and the Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton.

Yet, Walker is batting below the Mendoza Line at.192.

While he struck the ball hard in April, the hits were just not coming. He had to have faith in the work he was putting in.

“For me, it’s about just trusting myself, trusting what I’m doing,” Walker said Wednesday. “People say trust the process, but for me, it’s like, ‘What does that really mean?’ It’s like doing the same work, having the same mindset, not getting frustrated with the results.”

The month of May has been much kinder to Walker, who is batting .310 with an OPS of 1.067 in nine games. He has multiple hits in four of his last seven contests, including the team’s two straight wins over the Miami Marlins on Monday and Tuesday.

D-backs hitting coach Joe Mather said Saturday that he did not see anything Walker was doing that needed any stark changes early on. His message was for the veteran first baseman to keep going.

“There’s guys some seasons, they’re falling all the time,” Mather said. “There’s guys where they’re not falling. And that’s just the nature of our sport as much as we try and minimize that and take that out of the game, it will never leave. There’s no point in fighting it, just hit it hard. That’s as much as we can do.”

Walker said he looks at the peripheral numbers like batted balls to see what he’s doing well and can improve upon, along with reinforcement that he is doing what he can.

He looks for trends in his game that he can work on. The righty noted that his chase rates and swing-and-miss in the zone numbers are down while his walk percentage is up.

His strikeout rate is 21.4%, a career-low aside from the 60-game 2020 campaign. Meanwhile, his walk percentage is 11.1%, the best it has been since 2019.

“As far as like trusting the process goes, that’s what it is,” Walker said. “It’s digging in deeper and seeing maybe if there’s any other trends or if there’s anything else telling by the numbers that can help me be a better hitter or make adjustments somewhere.”

Average batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is around .300, according to MLB.

Walker’s is at .192, a sign that more of his batted balls are statistically likely to find holes.

He has, though, hit a lot of hard ground balls and struggled against the shift this season, another catalyst in his low traditional batting numbers aside from poor fortune.

The D-backs can sweep the Marlins with a win on Wednesday. Walker will start at first base and bat fourth against Miami starter Sandy Alcantara.

Catch D-backs-Marlins now on ESPN 620 AM or 98.7 FM HD-2.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Pavin Smith #26 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates his two-run home run with Daulton Varsho #12...
Jake Anderson

D-backs score 5 runs in 6th inning with 2 outs to sweep Royals in 2-game series

The D-backs scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning en route to an 8-6 win over the Royals at Chase Field on Tuesday night.
1 day ago
Jose Herrera #36 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits a RBI double against the Colorado Rockies during ...
Jake Anderson

D-backs reinstate rookie C Jose Herrera, return Grayson Greiner to Triple-A Reno

The D-backs reinstated rookie catcher Jose Herrera off the injured list and returned catcher Grayson Greiner to Triple-A Reno on Tuesday.
1 day ago
Fans walk the concourse before the MLB game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Cincinnati Red...
Arizona Sports

D-backs named most affordable MLB experience for 14th straight year

The Diamondbacks' Fan Cost Index sits at $152.30, nearly $34 below the next-most-affordable team, the Miami Marlins.
1 day ago
David Peralta #6 of the Arizona Diamondbacks reacts after hitting an RBI single during the seventh ...
Jake Anderson

D-backs survive 1st inning slugfest, come back to top Royals

The D-backs survived a first-inning slugfest in a 9-5 comeback win over the Kansas City Royals at Chase Field on Monday night.
1 day ago
First base coach Dave McKay #39 of the Arizona Diamondbacks speaks with outfielder Ketel Marte #4 o...
Kellan Olson

D-backs 1st base coach Dave McKay out due to COVID-19

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said after Monday's 9-5 win over the Royals that first base coach Dave McKay is out due to COVID-19.
2 days ago
Assistant athletic trainer Ryne Eubanks of the Arizona Diamondbacks looks at pitcher Zach Davies #2...
Kellan Olson

Zach Davies leaves game for D-backs after taking line drive off shin

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zach Davies left Monday's game against the Kansas City Royals with a right leg injury.
2 days ago
D-backs’ Christian Walker starting to rack up hits: ‘It’s about trusting myself’