The Orioles designated first baseman/outfielder Christian Walker for assignment. The former South Carolina standout batted .148 in 13 games with Baltimore in 2014 and 2015.
Walker was a fourth-round pick in 2012 out of South Carolina, where he played in three College World Series, winning championships in 2010 and 2011. At one point, Walker was one of the top prospects in the Orioles’ organization.
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said the Orioles’ decision to designate Walker for assignment was a depth-motivated move. Walker, an Orioles fourth-round pick in 2012 out of South Carolina, was at one point one of the top prospects in the organization.
He spent last season playing in left field for the first time. But Walker fell deeper on the team’s depth chart when the team re-signed slugger Mark Trumbo this past offseason. The emergence of first baseman Trey Mancini as one of the club’s top prospects has also hurt Walker’s fortunes. Duquette pointed out that the Orioles also have Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez in the minors as well.
“Christian Walker’s a young player,” Duquette said. “That all limited the opportunity for Christian for the O’s. We like him, obviously. We expect him to develop into a major league player.”
Walker was the Orioles minor league Player of the Year in 2014 after hitting .288/.357/.489 with 26 homers and 96 RBIs between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk. But his future with the organization, especially at first base, fell into question when Chris Davis signed a seven-year, $161 million deal before last season.
The Orioles shifted Walker to the outfield last season, when he hit .264/.321/.437 with 18 homers and 64 RBIs, but his move remained a project heading into this year’s spring training.
Christian Walker’s a young player. That all limited the opportunity for Christian for the O’s. We like him, obviously. We expect him to develop into a major league player.”
Dan Duquette, Baltimore Orioles executive vice president
The Orioles have 10 days to trade, release or pass Walker through waivers.
In his career at South Carolina, he played in 206 games and hit 336/.427/.533 with 30 home runs and 137 RBIs.