While the Arizona Diamondbacks found themselves toward the bottom of the Cactus League standings, Christian Walker saw himself atop many of the hitting categories league-wide this spring.
The D-backs first baseman finished in the top-10 in home runs, RBI, OPS and SLG this spring training.
Walker recorded five home runs in 48 at-bats to go with 15 RBIs and slugged .708. His 1.074 OPS made him the only D-back with an OPS over 1.000 in Cactus League action.
He was named as the D-backs’ spring training MVP by thescore.com.
The first baseman continues to prove he belongs in the MLB lineup, replacing D-backs legend Paul Goldschmidt after he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2019.
Although Walker just turned 30 on Sunday, he is entering just his third full season as a big leaguer.
While he was a reliable option in the minor leagues after being drafted in 2012 out of South Carolina, he never really earned consistent playing time until 2019 when he finished the season with 29 home runs.
In a shortened 2020 season, Walker’s power metrics took a slight dip but his batting average increased from .259 to .271, his line drive percentage increased by 6% and his strikeout percentage fell by 5%.
All signs point to Walker becoming more comfortable at the plate.
The Diamondbacks will need his consistency in the lineup, especially with the bat of outfielder Kole Calhoun on the shelf to start the season, as they look to improve after finishing last in the NL West in 2020.