It is impressive any time a player performs a feat that invokes memories of Ted Williams. St. Louis Cardinals rookie Jordan Walker has done exactly that already.
Although Walker will not turn 21 until May 22, he has proven ready for the majors. He has recorded a hit in all eight of his appearances to start his major league career, becoming the youngest player to do so since Williams in 1939. Williams, who recorded a hit in each of his first nine games, was the youngest player to do that since 1901.
St. Louis Cardinals rookie Jordan Walker in impressive company
Walker has understandably impressed statistically thus far in his major league career. He has 11 hits in his first 33 plate appearances, hitting a pair of doubles and two homers. Although he has yet to draw a walk in his major league career, Walker did have a walk rate over 10% in the minors. Those bases on balls will be coming.
He is still a work in progress defensively. Walker had been a third baseman but was converted to the outfield due to Nolan Arenado’s presence. Walker is still learning when it comes to taking routes to balls and getting a jump off the bat, although his excellent arm will play up in right. However, his mediocre defensive metrics have left him at -0.1 bWAR to begin the season despite his historic start.
The Cardinals will certainly live with his defensive lapses as long as the bat keeps producing. He has been a key part of their lineup this season, his 168 OPS+ third on the team. The Cardinals will need his bat to continue to produce as they hope to return to the postseason this year. Based on his prospect pedigree and start to the season, they will not need to worry about that.
Of course, it is too soon to compare Walker and Williams. The legendary Red Sox slugger is one of the greatest players in MLB history. Walker has had an impressive week. While he is in impressive company to start his career, that does not mean he will be joining Williams in Cooperstown.
Jordan Walker is off to an impressive start for the St. Louis Cardinals. This type of start has not been seen since the days of Ted Williams.