The Pirates rookie second baseman Neil Walker went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in a win against the D-Backs on Friday. Walker snapped an 0-for-14 skid with a first inning home run and later added a single to improve his average to .299. Walker has 11 homers, 54 RBIs and an .818 OPS on the season.
Walker has the second best on-base percentage amongst players with a walk-to-strikeout ratio under 0.35, trailing only Carlos Gonzalez. In order to succeed with that skill set, a player has to either hit for a lot of power or hit for a high average. Walker is doing a bit of both so far with his average. Can Walker sustain that heading forward? I think he can and will be a solid option for fantasy owners in 2011.
Its difficult to find value in NL-Only formats at second base and shortstop. Brandon Phillips and Chase Utley lead the way at the second base position, but Walker has proven this season that he too can consistently produce solid offensive numbers and you can get him in the later rounds of the draft. He will not provide a wealth of speed as he only has 10 stolen bases this season, but if he continues to bat third and follows Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata in the lineup, he will consistently post solid RBI numbers.
In other fantasy news from Friday…..
- Ryan Dempster pitched seven crisp innings in a victory over the Marlins. Dempster is 7-3 with a 1.90 ERA in his last 14 September starts dating to 2008.
- Max Scherzer allowed two runs on two hits over eight innings and fanned eleven to defeat the White Sox on Friday. The former Diamondback is 11-10 with 3.54 ERA and 173 strikeouts in 183 innings.
- Josh Hamilton received two cortisone shots in his ribs to try and calm the inflammation that is keeping him out of the lineup. The Rangers won’t know when Hamilton will return for a few more days. Stay tuned…..
- Chris Young will make just his second start of the season after being activated from the 60-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain.
- Jerry Mejia is done for the year with shoulder issues after making 3 starts for the Mets. The Mets did not give a time table for his recovery, but once healthy he will be back in the rotation. He is one to keep an eye on in NL Only leagues in 2011.