Cardinals’ Jordan Walker compared to these two MLB stars

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Pete Alonso #20 of the New York Mets runs to first during the second inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on September 17, 2021 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Pete Alonso #20 of the New York Mets runs to first during the second inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on September 17, 2021 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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St. Louis Cardinals prospect Jordan Walker stock has been soaring. Now, he’s being compared to MLB stars Austin Riley and Pete Alonso.

The hype surrounding Jordan Walker continues to reach new heights. First, it was being named the St. Louis Cardinals top prospect. Next, it was eventually becoming the face of the franchise’s next era alongside Tyler O’Neill (and perhaps Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt).

Now, it’s being compared to two MLB stars. In his top-100 prospect ranking, ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel said that Walker reminds him of “somewhere on the Austin Riley to Pete Alonso spectrum.”

Alonso, of course, has emerged as a superstar with the New York Mets, hitting a combined 90 home runs (including 53 in 2019) in his last two full major-league seasons while slashing .256/.347/.542 with an .890 OPS. Riley, meanwhile, became a postseason hero during the Atlanta Braves’ World Series run, and hit .303/.367/.531 with 33 home runs and 107 RBI while winning a Gold Glove in 160 games this season.

If Walker comes anywhere close to that, the Cardinals are in very, very, very good shape going forward. His bat certainly has elements to it that can replicate their numbers – maybe not the 53 home runs in one season – but his offensive abilities are what has scouts, both inside the Cardinals and outside the organization, optimistic that he can become a superstar.

The question has always been where he’d be defensively. Walker is a below-average third baseman, which is where many players in his range in McDaniel’s ranking play defensively (along with middle infield). It’s possible that he starts off as a first baseman/corner outfielder, which McDaniel says would speak “to the overall longevity and the amount of pressure evaluators put on the bat to perform.”

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The universal DH being implemented going forward would take some pressure off Walker defensively, but in an ideal world, the Cardinals wouldn’t have to make him their full-time DH. Still, he’s only 19, and is still growing into his body and as a player. The excitement should be high for one of the most promising Cardinals prospects in recent memory.

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