By the numbers: Diamondbacks’ Christian Walker’s turnaround here?
Oct 31, 2023, 2:30 PM
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
First baseman Christian Walker has been one of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ more prominent sluggers since his debut with the team in 2017.
For a team that had Paul Goldschmidt manning the position for eight seasons, Walker has been a superb replacement. His 120 home runs rank sixth in team history and his stellar defense has earned him a Gold Glove award, likely two after this season concludes.
However, Walker has experienced most of his major league success over the past two seasons, crushing 69 home runs and 197 RBIs in 317 games.
“We count on him offensively,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “He’s been somebody that in a lot of different ways has been a catalyst for us, whether it’s getting on base, having a good at-bat or driving runners in. You don’t have 100 RBIs or 105 RBIs unless you’re doing something right.”
Nearing the postseason, the team as a whole was in a slump. The D-backs dropped their final four games of the regular season, recording just three runs in 36 innings.
Walker slashed .202/.273/.394 in the month of September, and while it may seem his teammates have snapped out of their funk, Walker’s struggles carried over to the team’s Cinderella playoff run.
But his past couple games have shown signs he is turning a corner and making harder contact. He hit two balls over 100 mph on Monday.
With the D-backs facing the offense-heavy Texas Rangers in the World Series, the team will look for him to come through. Here’s a look into his numbers at the plate through Game 3 of the World Series:
Walker has a .173 postseason batting average, but out of his nine hits, five of them have been extra base hits.
Walker’s .641 OPS is a far cry from his a .830 OPS during the regular season.
Teammates Geraldo Perdomo, Tommy Pham, Alek Thomas, Corbin Carroll and NLCS MVP Ketel Marte all have OPS over .800.
Despite his struggles at the plate, Walker is still finding ways to get on base. His 12 walks are the most on the team this postseason, propelling his on-base percentage to .333.
“Obviously the box score hasn’t been great, but I’ve been making good decisions consistently,” Walker said. “I’ve been taking my walks, getting on base. As the clean-up hitter, I expect more out of myself, for sure. But overall, I think it’s trending up lately.”
Despite his 33 home runs during the regular season, Walker has only mashed one home run in 52 at-bats this postseason. His lone home run came in Game 3 of the NLDS when the Diamondbacks crushed four in one inning off the Dodgers’ Lance Lynn.
Prior to his first at-bat in Game 3 on Tuesday, a sold out crowd of 48,517 gave Walker a standing ovation, a version of the “Trea Turner treatment.” Walker took it all in and on Rangers pitcher Max Scherzer’s first pitch smacked a 400-foot double that would’ve been a home run in 20 out of 30 major league ballparks.
Although Walker’s base-running “honest mistake” that followed might’ve overshadowed the ovation, it may be a sign that greater production is near from the 32-year-old infielder.