Height/Weight: 6-5, 220
Acquired: Drafted 2020 (21st overall), Decatur (Ga.) HS
In 2021: .317/.388/.548, .936 OPS, 14 HR, 48 RBIs, 14 SB (Class A)
Scouting Report: Seventeen days before his 19th birthday, Walker got quite a gift. The first pitch the first-rounder saw as a pro was a hanging curveball. He crushed it. The ball cleared the wall at Roger Dean Stadium, a ballpark that vexes big leaguers with its size every spring, and Walker had announced his arrival with authority. It got better from there. The Georgia teen who turned down a scholarship at Duke to sign with the Cardinals had arguably the most impressive pro debut of any 2020 draft pick. At Low-A Palm Beach, Walker hit six homers and 18 extra-base hits in 99 at-bats for a .687 slugging percentage and a .831 OPS. That production forced a promotion to High-A Peoria where Walker, 3 ½ years younger than the league’s average age, had an .831 OPS and 66 hits against 66 strikeouts in 226 at-bats. Baseball America vaulted Walker ahead of Gorman as its top Cardinals prospect, writing how the third baseman “has an imposing 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame and rare strength for a teenager, crushing balls at 116 mph off the bat in his first month as a professional.” Not yet 20, Walker already has the same size and height of Kris Bryant, and the comparison doesn’t stop there. With exceptional athleticism, Walker could move around the diamond – playing third for now, playing first some, and eventually seeing right or left field – and become a middle-order hitter who can manage multiple positions. He has the strength, too, needed to break the Cardinals’ dry spell without a top-10 prospect – in all the minors.
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