18 days until the first workout of the spring for the Pittsburgh Pirates
There are less than 20 days until the Pittsburgh Pirates have their first workout of Spring Training 2018
The start of Spring Training 2018 continues to inch closer for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In just 18 days, the Pirates will dispatch their pitchers and catchers to the fields of Pirate City for their first workout of the spring.
Over the years, some of the best players in team history have worn number 18 for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bill Virdon, Matty Alou, Omar Moreno, Andy Van Slyke, and Jason Kendall are among these players. However, the last player to wear number 18 that will go down in Pirate lore in second baseman Neil Walker.
Neil Walker is a Pittsburgh native and a former first round draft pick by the Pirates. From 2010 – 2015, Walker was the team’s second baseman and a key cog in the middle of the Pirate lineup. While Walker battled injuries and poor defense while in Pittsburgh, he was always an above average offensive second baseman.
During these six seasons Walker owned a .337 wOBA, 115 wRC+, an on-base percentage of .338, and a .433 slugging percentage. His best seasons came when the Pittsburgh Pirates reached the postseason in three consecutive seasons from 2013 – 2015. During these three seasons Walker owned a .336 on-base percentage, he slugged .438, his wOBA was .338, and his wRC+ was 117. Additionally, he was a key factor in the Pirates making the postseason in three consecutive seasons.
Unfortunately for Walker and the Pirates, he consistently came up short in the postseason. In eight postseason games with the Pirates he was just 2-for-28 at the plate. This included just two walks and a single extra base hit.
In the 2013 NLDS Neil Walker hit second for the Pirates, but went 1-for-21 at the plate with just one walk. His inability to get on base is a big reason why the Pirates eventually lost the series when the Cardinals defeated the Bucs in five games.
Neil Walker also made Pirate history on Opening Day in 2011. This came when Walker joined Roberto Clemente as the only other player in Pirate history to hit a grand slam on Opening Day.
Currently, Walker is a free agent. Earlier in the off-season it was reported that the Pirates had interest in re-signing Walker. This interest could become even higher if the Pirates trade current second baseman Josh Harrison.
Next: Prospect to watch in 2018: Stephen Alemais
We are now just 18 days away from the start of Spring Training 2018 for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Yay!