NORFOLK (WAVY) — When the Orioles drafted Christian Walker in the 4th round of the 2012 draft, came into the Orioles organization as a first baseman. Baltimore however, is pretty loaded at first base, so during Spring Training Walker had a conversation with O’s manager Buck Showalter.
“About a week left in spring training I had a conversation with Buck,” Walker said. “There had been some conversation around about me switching to outfield, a couple of guys asked me if I’ve ever played outfield before. I wanted to go in there and kind of clear things up and it just opened that line of communication and it ended up being a good conversation, I went in as a first baseman and left his offense as a left fielder.”
Walker recently had an 11-game hitting streak, and he adjusted well to life in left field. Tides manager Ron Johnson kept a close eye on Walker earlier in the season, but that’s not the case now.
“I don’t even think about him out there,” Johnson said. “His routes and breaks are good, he’s got good instincts, he’s a good athlete which really helps so there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s going to make himself a very serviceable left fielder.”
But serviceable for what team? While the Orioles organization likes Christian Walker, the big league club has a chance to win the American League East, but the O’s are a little thin when it comes to starting pitching.
By playing two positions well, Walker is putting himself in a possible spot to reach the next level, whether it’s with Baltimore or another team.
“It’s another tool to have in the tool box. I’m spending a lot of time and energy learning left field right now, and in the last few years even more energy into perfecting first base and trying to be the best I can out there. I don’t want to lose any of the hard work that I’ve put in the last two years, so once a week I try to get in some ground balls at first to keep that fresh, but yeah I think it can only help down the road.”