No. 2: Should Jordan Walker already make a full-time move to designated hitter?
This was just mentioned in the previous slide, but it's something that's worth discussing because Walker has not been a natural fit in the corner outfield like everyone had hoped he'd be.
To kick off the season and his big league career, Walker has spent all of his time in the outfield, making 27 appearances in right field and 10 in left. To some, the fact that he has committed only one error in just under 300 innings may be encouraging, but to others, there are quite a few underlying statistics that tell you that he is actually one of the worst defenders in the majors out in the grass.
Walker's Statcast page is ever-evolving, especially as he begins to earn more plate appearances and time in the big leagues. His arm strength is great, his max exit velocity at the plate is great and his sprint speed is even great. What isn't so great, is his outfielder jump rate and his Outs Above Average. For jump, he ranks in the ninth percentile in the league. In OAA, he is in the second percentile, which means 98 percent of outfielders around the game are playing their positions better than he is.
In right field, his total OAA sits at -3, while in left field he's already at -4 after just 10 games out there. As far as Defensive Runs Saved goes, he is also at -10 on the year. The Cardinals should act swiftly and move one of their better hitters into a spot where can focus on ... well, hitting.
With the aforementioned struggles of Nolan Gorman in full swing, Walker seems like the perfect fit to slot into the DH role and take a break from the field. In 35 total games, he has six doubles and six home runs with 14 runs scored, 19 driven in, an average of .296, and an OPS+ of 131. Through and through, the man knows how to swing a bat.
With the impending return of Nootbaar, there are going to be some musical chairs being played around the Cardinals' starting lineup. One of the moving parts needs to be Walker being moved to designated hitter so he can continue to thrive at the plate. Who knows how many games his suspect defense has already cost the team.