The Milwaukee Brewers claimed outfielder Adam Brett Walker off waivers today from Minnesota. Walker, who just turned 25, was originally selected in the third round of the 2012 draft out of Jacksonville University.
Here’s a distillation of roughly all his virtues as a ballplayer:
As a professional, Walker has recorded 124 home runs in 2,449 plate appearances — including 27 homers this past season in 531 plate appearances for Triple-A Rochester. He has considerable power. Indeed, by at least one measurement, he has nearly the most power. Because, consider: his home-run figures are also accompanied by a number of walks and an even greater number of strikeouts. All told, roughly 45% of all Walker’s plate appearances this year produced one of those two outcomes. That’s an unusually high figure. Which means that Walker was left with relatively few opportunities with which to actually hit those home runs.
Here’s a table featuring Walker’s rate of home runs per batted ball at every professional level:
It’s not so common to discuss homers this way — that is, as a function of batted balls — so the reader might not have a great sense of what constitutes a strong showing by this measure. For the sake of comparison, here’s the entire collection of qualified major-league hitters in 2016 who recorded a higher mark than Walker’s career figure:
That’s 13 hitters out of over 140 qualifiers — or, less than 10% of the entire sample. Walker’s 2016 home-run rate was beaten by only five qualifiers this year — or, less than 5%. That’s rare power.
For how rare it is throughout the league, it’s actually not as rare in Milwaukee. The highlighted rows in the second table illustrate why: one of them (Chris Carter) denotes a current member of the team; the other one (Khris Davis), a recent member of the team. Carter and Davis are basically only two of five hitters this season to have done one a major-league field what Walker did on a bunch of minor-league ones. There are more nuanced ways to discuss Adam Walker, of course. If pressed for time, however, “younger Chris Carter” or “bigger Khris Davis” will mostly suffice.
Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.
That swing screams Chris Carter. It feels like he’s just laying the bat out there, and it goes 400 feet.