Quantcast
X

Have feedback / suggestions? Let us know!

MLB

Neil Walker Looking Like an All-Star Candidate at 2B for Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates Neil Walker

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

He has always been a decent second baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but it looks like Neil Walker is finally taking the giant leap forward that we have all been waiting for. Playing one of the weaker positions in the National League, Walker may find himself on an All-Star roster for the first time in his career.

First of all, Walker’s season is probably a bit overrated because of his home runs and RBI, but when voting for the All-Star rosters, home runs are the first thing many fans look at. Walker leads all NL second basemen with nine home runs and 25 RBIs. In 182 plate appearances, Walker is hitting .267/.348/.472 with a 132 wRC+.

Looking at his competition at second base, there are two clear candidates: Chase Utley of the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York MetsDaniel Murphy.

Utley is the obvious choice to win the starting job at this point; he is hitting .347/.406/.565 with a 165 wRC+ in 165 plate appearances. To go with his stellar line, Utley also has added three homers and 21 RBI. His .347 average has been aided by his hard-to-sustain .381 BABIP.

Murphy is a great contact hitter, striking out in just 11.3 percent of his trips to the plate. In 186 plate appearances, he is hitting .320/.371/.456 with a wRC+ of 134. He has three home runs and a surprising nine stolen bases; his career-high in swiped bags in 23, and he is on pace to surpass that easily.

If we can expect Utley to regress a bit based on his unsustainable BABIP, we can expect Walker’s average to increase as his low .260 BABIP increases. If he continues to keep his strikeouts down and hit for power, Walker will find himself at Target Field for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game.

Zach Morrison is a Pirates writer at RantSports.com. You can follow Zach on Twitter @Zach_Morrison1 and you can add him to your circles on Google+.