Nationals Baseball: Who's Tyler Walker?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Who's Tyler Walker?

While I hoped for a second it was a druggy NASCAR racer, but it's just another arm for the fire.

Remember when I said a few weeks ago that the Nats would probably add a couple more cheap arms to the bullpen stockpile? Walker is one of those.


He's never been able to get over the hump strikeout wise to be a dominant reliever (6.88 K/9 last year - he's done better... but also worse) but he's made strides in walks to remain an effective one. 4.26 BB/9 -> 2.51 -> 3.54 -> 2.29. Plus he was able to lower his HR rate while moving from a HR hard park in San Fran to a HR friendly park in Philly. That bodes well. His BABIP was a little low last year at .271 which helps give him a FIP well above his ERA (4.06 to 3.06). Still, even a 4.00 ERA would have been 5th best out of the 20 relievers the Nats had pitch more than 10 innings.

Is there a surprising year left in his arm? Maybe. He looks great in AAA, but then again he's had enough major league time that he's probably not going to wow anyone at this stage. At 33-34 could he suddenly be over? I guess. More than likely he'll help fill out the bullpen, making sure that there are 4-5 good arms in there.

The Nats also signed Chuck James and Chris Duncan. Why? Organizational depth I guess.

The best thing about Chuck James is that I may be able to work in frequent references to Chuck Bass. He's a guy coming off of a missed season due to surgery, who walks too many, gives up too many HRs and whose only good season came because of a lucky BABIP. At best he's a average 4th/5th starter, but far more likely he's AAA filler.

Chris Duncan is similar. Stats aren't good. Best year was a fluke (in his case a fluky power showing). He can't hit well enough to stay in the majors but he might be good enough to sit around in AAA. He won't be blocking anyone because the Nats still have gaps in the minors.

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