Cardinals call up No. 1 prospect Jordan Walker for second MLB stint

Jordan Walker is back in the big leagues. We’ll see if this time he’s here to stay.

According Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat.

Walker is ranked No. 2 nationally by Baseball America, behind only Jackson Chourio of the Milwaukee Brewers.

This will be Walker’s second stint with the Cardinals, as he was on the team’s Opening Day roster this season before being ejected in late April. Walker held firm at the plate, hitting .274/.321/.397 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 78 plate appearances, but he struggled on defense as an outfielder.

Did Walker improve while back in the minor leagues?

Walker is nominally a third baseman by trade, but the presence of Cardinals All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado pushed him into the outfield, where forward fielding measures were generally not kind to him. Statcast’s OAA had it two runs below average on 42 attempts (read: not good), while Defensive Runs Saved had it at -6, though at least it was error-free.

These issues were part of why the Cardinals sent Walker. Another was a 58.5% rushing ball rate on Baseball Savant, which hampered the 21-year-old’s considerable power.

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 08: St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Jordan Walker (18) celebrates his home run with teammates during a game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals at the American Family Field on April 8, 2023 in Milwaukee, WI.  (Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jordan Walker could be a future star for the Cardinals. (Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Walker has struggled somewhat during his time in Triple-A, hitting .239/.348/.398 with 32 strikeouts in 132 plate appearances, although he seems to have turned a corner lately, and the Cardinals have apparently wanted to watch it again in the majors.

While he’s had some short-term issues, there’s plenty to be excited about in the long run. Scouting reports indicate the 6-foot-6, 245-pound Walker has rare bat-to-ball skills for a player his size, as well as his power and an elite arm. If he develops as the Cardinals hope, he will be a mid-range bat alongside Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt for years to come.

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