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Christian Walker (1B, ARI) - Waiver Wire Pickups Week 4

BALLER MOVE: Add in All Leagues

OWNED IN: 26% of Leagues

ANALYSISWalker is 28 years old but just now getting his first test as an everyday player in the majors. Despite being an effective minor leaguer, Walker has struggled in the majors before this season. He’s had trouble with left-handed pitchers, against whom he generates power, but not a ton else. This season, Walker’s hot start (11 runs, 6 HR, 11 RBI, 3 SB, .313 AVG) has been supported by his batted-ball data. Walker sits 28th with a .417 xwOBA, which goes right along with his .431 wOBA. Likewise, his 14.1 Brls/PA% is good enough for 12th in the league.

Walker’s power has always been present, but his contact skills remain questionable. We’re nearing the stabilization point for strikeout rate, and while Walker’s 32.4% may not look good, it’s much better than his career 37.1%. Walker’s ability to steal a base will draw comparisons to Paul Goldschmidt, but Joey Gallo is a better analog. The first baseman’s walk rate is also improved to 9.9%, and if he can maintain that and a strong OBP, he might fall somewhere between Rhys Hoskins and Gallo.

Comparisons aside, Walker’s lack of pedigree or helium means that he’s still available in many leagues. Many owners are writing him off as a nobody with a small-sample performance. That may end up being the case, but the improvements in Walker’s plate discipline and his prodigious power mean that he’s worth a flier for any owner who could use a first baseman or corner infielder.

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