Cardinals Sending Top Prospect Jordan Walker Back Down to the Minor Leagues

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Cardinals Sending Top Prospect Jordan Walker Back Down to the Minor Leagues

Chicago Cubs

The St. Louis Cardinals played things very aggressive to begin the season, opening with slugging third base prospect Jordan Walker on the Opening Day roster. Even though Walker was going to have to move to the outfield, even though Walker was just 20, and even though Walker hadn’t yet played at Triple-A. Given how good he looked in the spring and how sky high his potential, it made sense.

Since then, though, Walker hit just .274/.321/.397/101 wRC+, with some contact data that suggested it should be even worse than that, and outfield defense that bordered on unplayable. He had already accumulated -5 DRS in right field. Yikes.

That is all to say, the Cardinals changed course today:

A part of me wants to be cynical and say that this is just the Cardinals wanting their cake and eating it, too – getting credit for opening the season with Walker on the roster, but then later optioning him out so that they can get back an extra year of team control. That’s probably a non-zero factor here.

But the other part of me acknowledges just how brutal Walker was on defense, how the bat wasn’t yet SO overwhelmingly good that you just had to play him every day, and how the Cardinals have an overload of outfielders they want playing regularly. And, now Walker can get his first experience at Triple-A. This really isn’t that unreasonable.

In the meantime, there will still be timeshares in the Cardinals outfield – Lars Nootbaar, Dylan Carlson, Tyler O’Neill, and Alec Burleson are all “starters” – but now they are going to be better able to apportion that playing time. This move probably helps them in the short-term, and might help Walker’s development in the long-term.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.