NEIL WALKER, 2B
Player Data: Age: 31, B/T: S/R, Free Agent: 2017
2016 Primary Stats: .282/.347/.476, 23 HR, 55 RBI, 458 PA
Like most of the Mets, it was an up and down season for Neil Walker. Also like most of the Mets (at least it seemed like most of the Mets), he suffered a serious injury and finished his year on the disabled list.
Walker, acquired by the Pirates for Jonathan Niese in a trade the Pirates regretted almost instantly, got off to a red hot start, hitting .307 in April with 9 home runs. He even addressed his greatest offensive weakness: in the past, he had been a far inferior hitter from the right side of the plate than the left. But he improved mightily in that department: in 2015 he hit .237 as a right handed hitter with zero home runs. In 2016, he hit .330 with 8 home runs.
While it looked like he was primed for a career year, Walker was slowed by a terrible slump that lasted all of June and July. In 48 games he hit .238 for the eight weeks, with little pop in his bat as evidenced by 7 extra base hits total in the two months.
Then in August Walker turned it on: in only 18 games he hit .389 with 6 home runs, crushing the ball like he had been in April. Unfortunately, those were also his last eighteen games: Walker’s bad back required surgery and he finished the year on the disabled list.
Walker was a solid, if inconsistent contributor offensively. He also played a steady defense, making 7 errors at the second base position and handling most balls hit his way smoothly.
The Mets have tendered him the one year qualifying offer worth $17.2 million, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters he will be content no matter how it plays out. I am speculating that he will decline it and seek out a 3-4 year deal elsewhere. Wherever he plays Walker has been a consistent pro for a long time, and a .270 18 home run season with smooth defense from the second base position should be easily within his reach.