Neil Walker has assumed a few different roles over the past couple seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Walker has become the team’s starting second baseman and also found himself being the team’s No. 3 hitter for a long time in 2012. The 2013 season should be one where Walker finds himself in a more comfortable spot in the lineup, which should allow him to become an even better player.
I think there was too much pressure on Walker last season to be a run-producer in front of Andrew McCutchen in the lineup. Walker isn’t a big home run threat, and while he hit a career-high 14 dingers last season, Walker is best suited for the No. 2 spot in the lineup, with McCutchen hitting third.
Walker hit .280 in 2012 and if he can get through this season without any injuries, he should be finding himself with 14-18 home runs and around 70-75 RBIs. Those are numbers that should allow Pittsburgh to have a real chance to be above .500 and in the playoffs for the first time since 1992.
It has been a very long slump for the Pirates as a whole since the glory days of the early 1990’s, but it finally looks like Pittsburgh is going to put a winning on the field in 2013 with the addition of Russell Martin and the emergence of Pedro Alvarez. This has to be a very exciting time for fans in Pittsburgh and for Pirates players like Walker. Hopefully Walker can continue to improve in his fifth season for the Pirates because Pittsburgh is on their way up.