Walker surprised everyone to emerge as the second baseman of the future in 2010.
The Pittsburgh Pirates traded Freddy Sanchez to the San Francisco Giants at the 2009 trade deadline, leaving a big hole at second base with no internal options at the top two levels. To fill that hole, the Pirates traded for Akinori Iwamura, sending Jesse Chavez to the Tampa Bay Rays in November 2009 to land their starting second baseman.
Iwamura was coming off a .290/.355/.390 line in 231 at-bats during an injury shortened 2009 season. Iwamura suffered torn ACL, which caused him to miss a lot of time, and allowed for Ben Zobrist and Sean Rodriguez to emerge in Tampa Bay. The Pirates hoped that Iwamura could fill the gap until someone like Chase d'Arnaud or Josh Harrison arrived in the majors. That didn't work out, as Iwamura was a disaster, with a .182/.292/.267 line in 165 at-bats.
Fortunately the Pirates stumbled in to an option for second base. Neil Walker, who was seen as a future utili...
Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.