2015 Spring Training: A battle at first base for the Baltimore Orioles
By Mike Franz
Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
The Baltimore Orioles’ farm system is starting, once again, to produce some big Major League talent. Along with pitchers like Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy, batters like Christian Walker are on the cusp of breaking into the Majors.
Last season, Walker made his Major League debut on September 17th, 2014. Once the Orioles clinched the AL East Division, Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter made the decision to bring up Walker and give him a sort of a “tryout” at first base with the ball club.
In his first game, Walker ripped a double into left field against the Blue Jays. Two nights later, Walker had his first multi-hit game in the Majors, which included his first Major league home run. While Walker played in six games at first base, many wondered if he and Chris Davis would compete in 2015 for the first baseman job.
Davis ended his 2014 season batting .196/.300/.404 with 26 home runs and 72 RBI. Surely, Davis had an off year after his unbelievable 2013 season that included league-leading 53 home runs and 108 RBI. Many believe he will bounce back in 2015, but others think it is time to bring in a fresh new bat. That new bat could come from Walker.
It is a stretch to think Walker will take over as first baseman for Baltimore at the beginning of the 2015 season, but it is something to ponder. Both have home run power and can hit the ball all over the ballpark. However, where Davis beats Walker is his defense. In each of the past two seasons, Davis has ended up with a .996 fielding percentage at first base.
Davis has great ability to dig throws from his fellow infielders out of the dirt and fully extends for every ball. Walker has some trouble with this.
Nevertheless, when Spring Training begins in a few months, these are two players to keep your eye out for.