Analysis

Neil Walker’s disappearing power

Neil Walker’s disappearing power

On May 20, 2011, Neil Walker was hitting .288/.361/.466 and was in the midst of an encouraging sequel to his strong rookie season of 2010. He had hit six home runs in his first 183 plate appearances of the year, putting him on pace to hit close to 20 bombs over the course of a full season. However, suddenly the home runs dried up, and he finished 2011 with only 12 long balls in 662 trips to the plate. That power outage has continued this season, as Walker has only hit two homers in his first 185 plate appearances.

Coming up through the minors, Walker’s biggest strength was always his ability to produce extra-base hits. Even when he struggled at Triple-A in 2008 and 2009, he still managed to hit for well above average power. The chart below shows his Isolated Power (which is simply slugging percentage minus batting average) over the course of his career. Take this data with a grain of salt, simply because it covers a multitude of levels while Walker was at various points of his develop...

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Analysis

Matt has covered the Pirates at Wait ‘Til Next Year, Pittsburgh Lumber Co. and now Pirates Prospects. He served as Pirates team expert for Heater Magazine in 2009 and 2010 and has contributed to Graphical Player 2009, 2010 and 2011. Matt was also the editor of the 2011 and 2012 Pirates Prospects Annuals.

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