10 July 2017

He Hasn't Done Nothing

Joe Reisel's Archives

If you really want to hear my views, Adam Brett Walker has done very little. Photo by Les Treagus / Norfolk Tides.
If you have followed the Depot for a while - at least since the past offseason - you may remember a series of articles and comment threads upon the merits of one Adam Brett Walker. To sum up his rather eventful offseason, he ended 2016 in the Twins' organization; was claimed on waivers by the Brewers on November 18; was claimed on waivers by the Orioles on December 2; and, finally, was claimed on waivers by the Braves on January 26. To be candid, I was disappointed that he left the Orioles organization, because he would likely have played at Norfolk and I would have liked to see him at Norfolk. Walker hits home runs, and even though he would strike out a lot I would have enjoyed seeing him hit home runs. With every at-bat, there was the chance to see something amazing.

Walker began the season with Atlanta's AAA team in Gwinnett, and was - in a word - terrible. I saw him DH in two games at Norfolk, and he went 0-for-8 with a sacrifice fly. In the second of those games, Gwinnett scored 15 runs on 17 hits and Walker's only positive contribution was that sacrifice fly - although I should point out that he was robbed of a hit by Alex Castellanos and David Washington on a hard ground ball to third. Walker's tenure in Gwinnett wasn't much more successful - .128/.205/.282 - and he continued to struggle when demoted to AA - .122/.182/.388. The Braves released him on May 9, and the Orioles - always in need of high-level minor-league roster filler - signed him on May 12. Assigned to the hitter's haven of Bowie, Walker produced at a .426/.449/1.364 clip in 12 games before being promoted to Norfolk on June 26.

Norfolk began an eight-game homestand on the 26th, and I worked five of those games. In the last of the games, July 3, Walker did not play. I will review his at-bats of the other four games:

July 27 vs. Louisville, 2nd inning - against Amir Garrett, Walker got ahead 3-0; took a called strike; and fouled a pitch off. On the 3-2 pitch, Walker hit a comebacker to the mound. Louisville didn't play the ball very well and only got a force at second instead of an inning-ending double play.

4th inning - with runners on first and second and one out, Garrett struck Walker out on three pitches (swinging, called, swinging.)

6th inning - trailing 7-0, with Chris Johnson on first and two outs, Walker deposited a towering fly ball into the Norfolk bullpen in right field. Walker's home run was overshadowed by the temper tantrum Amir Garrett threw, as he began berating home plate umpire Blake Carnahan even before Walker finished circling the bases. (We speculated that Garrett was upset that the previous borderline pitch was called a ball rather than a strike. Or that Garrett, knowing he was going to be relieved, wanted to go out with a bang.)

8th inning, against Lisalverto Bonilla - with two outs and nobody on, with Norfolk down 7-4, Walker flew out to center field on a 1-2 pitch.

June 28 vs. Louisville, 2nd inning - against Robert Stephenson, Walker swung and missed at two pitches; took two balls, and then grounded out 5-3.

5th inning - after Stephenson struck out David Washington in an eight-pitch at-bat, Walker took three straight called strikes.

7th inning - Washington hit a two-run, two-out home run off Stephenson. On the next pitch, Walker hit a hard ground ball to short and was retired 6-3.

8th inning - With the score tied at three, Ismael Guillon gave up a single to Pedro Alvarez, then struck out Chris Johnson and Washington. Walker took a ball, swung and missed, took another ball, swung and missed, and fouled a pitch off. He then swung and missed at strike three.

June 30 vs. Durham, 1st inning - with two outs and runners on first and second, Walker hit into a 6-4 fielder's choice on a 2-2 pitch by Ryan Yarbrough.

3rd inning - With two outs and a runner on first, Walker flew out to center on Yarbrough's 1-2 pitch.

6th inning - With one out, Walker grounded out to third on the first pitch from Yarbrough.

9th inning - Again with one out, Walker grounded out to second on an 0-1 pitch, this time facing Andrew Kittredge.

July 2 vs. Durham, 2nd inning - against Yonny Chirinos, Walker grounded out 5-3 on a 2-0 pitch.

4th inning - after Pedro Alvarez homered over the right field party deck, Walker swung and missed at Chirinos' 1-2 pitch.

6th inning - Walker swung and missed at a 1-2 pitch as Chirinos struck out the side, fanning Chris Johnson, Alvarez, and Walker.

8th inning - Off left-handed relief pitcher Jose Alvarado, Walker struck out, swinging, on yet another 1-2 pitch, this time with the bases loaded and two outs.

I emphasize that I am in no way claiming that the Depot was "right" in our offseason thinking about Walker. I know that these are only sixteen plate appearances. And it's possible that he has been better than this on the Tides' recent road trip - I confess that I don't follow the Tides closely when they are on the road.

But I was hoping that Adam Brett Walker would provide some spectacular home runs, some memorable moments that my friends and I would talk about during rain delays for years to come. I suppose indirectly he did that - I'm sure we'll remember Amir Garrett's display of temper, which may have been triggered by Walker's home run. On the whole, however, I've so far been disappointed in Adam Brett Walker. He hasn't done nothing - but he has done very little.


btwrestler119 said...

I was looking at a box score and I saw that he is playing CF some games, does he look ok out there? That would make him a lot more interesting if he could play center adequately.

Unknown said...

I have not seen Walker play center field. In the games I saw, he played left field three times and right field once.