The St. Louis Cardinals make a huge bet by selecting Jordan Walker in the first round. He has the upside to be a stud in the Majors, could he develop into a star?
With the 21st pick of the 2020 MLB Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals selected Jordan Walker, a high upside third baseman out of Decatur, Georgia. Before you wonder why the Cardinals took him when Nolan Gorman is in the waiting to be the next everyday Cardinals’ third baseman, don’t worry; I am just as confused as you are. Gorman also shouldn’t be something to stop this pick.
Jordan Walker came into the draft regarded as the highest-ranked prep corner-infield prospect, and his exciting tools prove why. Walker has a ton of raw power and a quick swing to go with it. He is a great athlete and is quick enough to stick at third at the next level. Walker also has a cannon for an arm, especially considering the fact that he is only 18 years old. His potential to be a star is through the roof, but his weaknesses show that he has a long way to go.
As a pure hitter though, Walker is still raw and could use some refinement in that department. His vision at the plate needs work, and he struggles with identifying breaking balls. Though it is going to take work, it’s definitely something that can be fixed if developed correctly.
If needed, Walker can move to right field if Nolan Gorman ends up blocking him at third base. With Walker’s cannon for an arm and solid athletic ability, he could make this switch without much of a fit. Regardless of where he plays, he could be a quality player at either position.
Scouts also say he could also make a move to first base, but I personally believe that would be a waste given the fact that his arm is one of his better tools.
The first thing you see when you look at Walker is his massive frame, standing at 6’5 and weighing in at about 220 pounds. He has a very nice frame for an 18-year old and could get even bigger with age.
Like many high school prospects, it’s going to be a while before we see Walker reach the Majors; and it is going to require a lot of patience as the Cardinals develop his ability as a pure hitter and help Walker make strides. I am confident that his hitting ability will improve as he ages and builds his frame.
The Duke commit was in the midst of a ridiculous senior season; hitting .457 with four home runs and an absurd 1.550 OPS in 30 at-bats before the season would be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So yeah, that’s pretty good.
The Cardinals may not have been linked to Walker by any mock drafts or major publications, but that doesn’t mean that this pick was a bad decision at all. The Cardinals clearly had their guy and they must’ve thought he’d be gone by there next pick.
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The verdict: Though I am disappointed that the Cardinals didn’t draft a college RHP like I have been wishing throughout the process, this is a solid pick and a fine bet based on how high his ceiling is. (Which is pretty high, by the way). The Cards will have plenty of chances for college arms later in the draft with their seven total picks. Next up: the 54th pick on Thursday night.