If you had told me a few years ago that I would be spending an hour poring over the Liga Colombiana de Béisbol Profesional website so I could scan through box scores and get accurate stats for a player I’d have called you crazy. Fast forward to the present and I’m finally able to write this article because I finished compiling all my data from the LCBP website and can now safely say that my hypothesis about Adam Walker is correct. I’d say something about the lengths I go to in order to present unaffiliated baseball stories, but you all know I enjoy it so I won’t even lie.
Walker’s 2020 season (likely 2020-2021 by the time this is published) is the sort that makes me happy the winter leagues exist. Walker isn’t the case of someone playing more baseball to try and work on his game. No, Walker is a guy who has realized exactly what type of player he is and is playing to show everyone that he can produce all year long. At the same time, he can make some more cheddar and maybe even win a second title. What’s not to love about winter ball giving someone the chance to do exactly what Walker is doing?
The Milwaukee born and raised Walker started his season with the Milwaukee Milkmen of the American Association. He was coming off of a disappointing 2019, at least based on the type of player he has become, and no one knew what to expect after the Coronavirus had changed the start of the AA season so drastically. Walker was hot right out of the gate and he never really let up. He was the main cog in the middle of a potent Milkmen offense that controlled the AA from the beginning of the season until the final out of the AA Championship Series. Walker finished the AA season with a .268/.320/.609 slash line and 22 home runs in 220 at-bats. It was enough to earn him AA Player of the Year honors, but Walker wasn’t done playing baseball yet.
A few games into the LCBP season he hooked up with Caimanes de Barranquilla, likely thanks to existing Caimanes players Christian Correa and David Holmberg having been his teammates with the Milkmen. Walker garnered 57 at-bats in his short LCBP tenure (their playoffs are starting this week and the Caimanes qualified). He slashed .263/.306/.596 with a league-leading 5 home runs. Those aren’t stats that will blow anyone away, but they are a continuation of the same level of play Walker showed with the Milkmen in 2020.
The type of player Walker has become is evident in these two numbers: 20 and 90. 20 is the number of times Walker walked between his two teams, while 90 is how many times he struck out. The former big-league prospect has a huge power swing. His homers aren’t run of the mill home runs but towering shots that often clear the entire stadium. The problem Walker has always had to contend with throughout his career is that he doesn’t have a keen eye to match his prodigious power. He strikes out a lot, walks very little, and thus winds up getting on base at a fairly low clip. Those stats, plus his big looping swing are why Walker is not a guy who will ever be major league bound. That’s okay though because as long as Walker keeps leaning into his power he can and should succeed at the unaffiliated level.
The question for Walker becomes, will he be content with a career spent in the unaffiliated leagues or will he lose the drive to continue competing if there’s no major league light at the end of the tunnel? I don’t know the answer to that question and I’m not sure if Walker has given it much thought either. What I do know is that whether it’s in Milwaukee or Barranquilla I’m planning on enjoying Walker’s mammoth blasts for as long as he’s providing them.
Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – Vavel