Meet Jared Walker – Quakes First Baseman

First baseman Jared Walker, currently playing with the Glendale Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League, was selected by the Dodgers in the fifth round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Georgia. Although he had committed to Kennesaw State University in Georgia, he quickly signed with the Dodgers being the first player from that draft to sign on the dotted line. He was signed as a third baseman.

 

At that time, Baseball America had this as a scouting report on Walker.

 

“Walker is a bat-first player who is likely to move down the defensive spectrum from his current shortstop. The left handed hitter has hitting instincts and a line-drive stroke with natural strength.  He has good bat-to-ball skills, though his approach will require refinement, and average raw power that projects to plus down the road. A team might try him at third base, but his defensive future likely lies in left field. He has fringe-average to average arm strength, though his arm has some stiffness and he tends to throw from a low angle. The Kennesaw State commit is an average runner with a good body at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds.”

Baseball America had him ranked as No. 339 while the Dodgers selected him with the 159th overall pick.

 

Jared Walker’s story began way back when he was in kindergarten. His father died but fortunately he can remember much about his Dad.

 

Skip ahead to his senior year at McEachern High School. He was selected All Americans/All Regions 2014 Perfect Game 3rd Team and Southeast – All Region 1st Team. However, other things were going on in his life. During that senior year his older brother Clint died from a heart attack. While the 2014 draft was going on and he was selected by the Dodgers he was at his mother’s bedside. She would die in the next few months from kidney disease. With his family as his backdrop he headed off to professional baseball.

 

Walker has now completed five years of minor league baseball and the 6’2”/195-pound left-handed hitter has found the going to be a bit tough. In his first two seasons, both with the Arizona League Dodgers, he hit .231 in 2014 and .240 in 2015.  During the 2016 season he hit .231 with his nine games with the Great Lakes Loons dragging his batting average down. His 2017 season was split between the Great Lakes Loons and the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. He hit .266 but only .224 in 20 games with the Quakes. He did have 14 home runs and 39 runs batted in over 65 games.

 

For whatever reason Walker had only 602 at bats in his first four years as a professional. It was not from walking excessively and his transaction history does not reveal any trips to the DL. Walker decided to do something about the shortage of at bats by playing winter ball to prepare for the 2018 season.

 

“I’m playing third, second and first … third is my go-to position but my goal is to master all of them,” Walker said. “Colombia’s not exactly the easiest place to spend 10 weeks, but I need the ABs. I need the playing time. I need to work on my swing, incorporating my legs more.”

 

His 2018 season began a turnaround for the 22-year-old native of Powder Springs, Georgia. With time split almost evenly between the Loons and Quakes he posted a triple slash of .255/.365/.545 with an OPS of .910. He hit 25 home runs along with 26 doubles and eight triples while driving in 75 runs in 404 at bats.

 

He was selected as a mid-season All-Star with the Loons and awarded Player of the Week honors in the California League from July 30 to August 5. At one point with the Quakes he homered in five straight games. FanGraphs indicates that although Walker continues to be a fly ball hitter, he is using the whole field more effectively with 48% of his hits as pull hits, 26% to center field and 26% to the opposite field.

 

Defensively he is moving away from third base having played there for 24 games with the Loons during the past season while playing 65 games at first base and 18 at second base. As a first baseman during the 2017 and 2018 seasons he has handled 728 total chances with five errors and a fielding percentage of .993. His range factor at first base has been 7.61.

 

Jared Walker feels he has matured because he had to when the strong support from his family was lost to him.  He now has a circle of friends, his step-brother and his grandmother, whom he describes as a lion, to lean on.

 

“She’s fierce with a lot of energy … she’s a lion,” Walker said. “This was almost an impossible three years of my life. I don’t know what I would have done without her.”

 

“It matures you,” Walker said. “I knew that wherever I went to play, I was on my own. If I struggled, I wasn’t going to be able to call my mom or dad like some of the other players could. I learned perspective.”

 

He has done what he can to keep his family with him. In an interview he paid tribute to his family stating emphatically that if he could have his family back or baseball, he would take his family in a second. He reminds himself that his family is still with him. His right arm is covered with tattoos of his family, and when he takes the field, he spells out their initials in the infield dirt.

 

Here is a brief interview with Jared Walker in which he speaks of his family and his tattoo to honor and remember them.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfsJpejVJZ8

 

He still has much to do as he attempts to climb the ladder in minor league baseball. He is not making excuses but knows that up until now he has not made the impression on the Dodgers that he might have hoped to. With an assignment to the Arizona Fall League it seems that he has been noticed once again.

 

“I have to get respect back from the Dodgers,” Walker said. “I have to earn it. I struggled my first few years.”

 

 

 

This article has 110 Comments

  1. DC, this is a fantastic story. He is someone who you just have to root for. There is no doubt in my mind that he is going to be successful in life. If life includes baseball??? Well, I hope it does for his sake. He is a young man who has his priorities in place. He is rocketing up my favorite players list.

  2. Grandal will be starting today. Joc and Belly have 2 hr each vs Chacin, so let’s hope that continues and we take this game early!

    1. I’m expecting us to score a bunch of runs today. Score early, score often, and score late! This is the game we show them we are the better team.

        1. 1-0 also works for me.

          Funny thing about this time of year: Literally every game is bigger than the last. Each one becomes the new “most important game of the season.”

          This one feels pivotal.

  3. Jared Walker is a great story about a kid who has had to grow up quickly. This is a guy who may make the Show after 25 or 26. He’s still raw, but I believe he has the drive and determination.

  4. The unexpected is all I ever expect. Learned a long time ago never to take anything for granted. I’m confident, but cautiously so.

    1. Other good stuff:
      `
      From a recent FanGraphs chat with Jeff Sullivan, of the Effectively Wild Podcast….
      On Urias > Alexander – Jeff Sullivan: I think in one sense there’s a general disappointment that Alexander hasn’t been better. He’s a guy with an awful big platoon split. Urias isn’t so good against lefties, but he’s better against righties, and even though he had something of a lost season he might well currently have the fresher arm. Little doubt that, at or around 100%, Urias should be a more effective pitcher than Alexander is.
      `
      On the Dodgers EVER wanting to acquire Stanton – But I don’t know what the Dodgers would want with Stanton and his contract. That thing is a looming disaster. Nine more years. He’s not going to opt out.
      `
      On Machado or Harper to the Yanks – I figure they’ll get one of them. Machado, of course, being the easiest fit for the roster as constructed…I wouldn’t say the Yankees’ Machado odds are beyond 50% — the Phillies are out there, too — but I do have the Yankees as my early favorite
      `
      On the Dodgers getting into trouble in the Int’l scandal – Jeff Sullivan: I can hardly begin to speculate on just how deep this might end up going. But remember we did see the Red Sox get penalized for something just about everyone does. And the Orioles do have a fully-rostered Dominican affiliate. For what it’s worth, if it’s worth anything, when I’ve asked around the response I’ve gotten is that the Dodgers are probably covered since they fired their criminals years ago. This could end up being a blockbuster story, or it could easily fizzle, at least as far as newsworthiness is concerned
      `

  5. At Dodger com, they have Kike hitting fifth, in the line up today.

    But I am not sure that is really the line up, for today.

    But like AC mentioned, I think it might be better to have Taylor in this line up, and play second over Kike, today.

    Because Taylor has been hitting more then Kike lately, and Taylor has a hit and a HR off Chacin, this year.

    And Kike hasn’t faced Chacin this year, and he probably has not faced Chacin, many times.

    But if Kike is playing today, I wouldn’t hit him fifth, ahead of Cody, and Puig.

    And by the way, Kemp has hit three HRs off Chacin, in his career too.

    1. There is no way to know what will happen, but we sure have the potential to do a lot of damage with this lineup. My picks are Muncy and Bellinger to do some damage. Also watch out out for the bottom of the lineup. Grandal and Keekay can take advantage of how hard the pitcher has to work on the rest of the lineup. Something tells me Turner might get a nice ovation tonight. if he doesn’t connect on that pitch, the series feels a lot different right now.

    2. I would have switched CT3 for Kike’. Taylor has had a far better post season than Kike’, especially in the NLCS. Taylor is 2 for 6 against Chacin while Kike’ has never faced him. Muncy is 0 for 6, while Freese is 1 for 2 with a walk. I am okay with Muncy, but I like CT3 as a better option at 2B.

  6. I would bat kike in front of Grandal – he is a slug on the base paths.
    Bellinger, Puig, Grandal looks like a lot of Strike Out potential.
    Couldn’t we find a spot for Freese?
    MJ has nailed it about him – he will give you a Turner like AB every time he is at the plate, and that lineup above is short of that.

    1. I don’t get too hung up on batting orders. I like Muncy hitting #2 tonight and I can make a case for Taylor over Kike, but Kike has proven he likes the bright lights and can deliver under pressure.

      At his age, David Freese is a platoon player – I would not run him out there too much. I think the less exposure, the more effective he is.

      1. sure seems to me like puig might be one bad game away from a permanent benching. i haven’t liked his at-bats at all. i feel he owes us all a big postseason. all will be forgiven. alas, i don’t think he’s the guy . . .

        1. What I”m unhappy with Puig is his nervous-like approach in big at bats. He gets too anxious and starts flailing away at the low and outside pitch. He’s not gotten 1 clutch, big base hit all postseason, and he’s had several chances to really break games open.

          I don’t know where to find his avg with RISP, but I”m sure it’s .000 with tons of guys left on base.

          1. Agreed on the low and outside pitch which he has done well to lay off for the most part until recently when the games got bigger. He can’t chase the high fastball either, wait for a lower one to drive. They will walk him every time up if he let’s them but one hanging breaking ball and it’s launch city.

    2. That’s why you don’t want him 8th unable to advance on a bunt. I probably like Muncy still 3rd to get the lefties and righties split up but that’s splitting hairs considering JT is a true #3 hitter.

  7. Well, the ads are gone. As I suspected, the site was hacked. You think you know people, but I guess you never do. Thankfully, I have a TOP NOTCH Web Developer who was able figure it all out. He got back from vacation today. They were getting paid for the ads on our site. We told Google to withold the funds. This ain’t over. I’m like the Marines –No greater friend – No worse enemy!I don’t get mad. I get even! You know who you are and so do I!

  8. Note to talking heads discussing postseason stats: Because the baseball playoffs have changed radically in a short period of time, it is almost completely meaningless to declare anyone “one of the best ever” when they hold the advantage of extra games in their favor. Thank you.

  9. Usually I mute Buck and go radio feed even though Steiner is terrible at his job. I’m going to try to stick it out so I can listen to Dieter in his organ. He’s so much better than Nancy Bea. Sorry old timers.

    1. Hawkeye

      I like to play name that tune when he plays a song.

      He always plays walks like an Egyptian, when someone walks.

        1. Hawkeye

          I not that good with hard rock, but he does have a great repertoire of music, that is for sure.

          But I do like classic rock.

  10. 1st inning observations: Chacin is dealing and is spotting his slider down in the strike zone and getting the calls. The start time of this game is tough on the hitters to see the ball well, it could be a low scoring game and swing on defense and clutch hits. Chacin likes his fastball up and both Joc and Muncy can hit that pitch and Bellinger too at times. Buehler looks settled in and ready to deal now. Defense will be huge and that favors the Blue. Let’s go!!

  11. Now that was a nice job by Puig! Grandal now can make up for his errors and passed balls and double play with this at bat

  12. Grandal is not a team player by striking out. All he had to do was hit the ball somewhere. Do not sign him next year. I still get mad watching the Dodgers play. You have to take what the other team is willing to give you. What Grandal did is on Doc. They just do not play good situational baseball. During the regular season you can get away with what Grandal did. In the play off it does not play well.

  13. I think Doc should go one more inning with Walker. He should not see the 1-2-3 hitters a third time.

  14. Stupid play by Machado. It was obvious that he was going after the shortstop. Just slide through the bag and trust that Bellinger’s speed will keep the Dodgers out of the DP.

    1. I get run if I’m Roberts. That’s a horseshit call. That ball was out and it affected nothing. It’s the effin playoffs for God’s sake. Dumb by Machado after That Rat Counsell cried on the first one but for F’s Sake play baseball. This why our kids are a bunch of soccer playing p*****s these days.

  15. This will be Chacin’s last inning. It would be utterly embarrassing to get shutout in 5ip by this guy, and Hader will be ready for 2ip today.

  16. I know Buehler is a pitcher, but for crying out loud, with 2 strikes at least swing the bat!! That’s twice now.

  17. WTH was Cody doing. He played that horribly. I still hate Grandal’s game. Dude can’t put a pitch in play with two in scoring position but gets a bloop double and his glove has once again proven to be an achilles heel.

  18. Yasmani should have kept that ball in front of him. It appeared to me that it did NOT hit the plate.

    But all things considered, this game is on the Dodger’s offense, which continues to be inconsistent.

  19. Dodgers get 2nd and 3rd with 1 out and don’t score. Get runner on 2nd with 1 out and don’t score. Right – the failure to hit with RISP doesn’t matter. Sure it doesn’t.

    The ball Grandal didn’t block was blockable. This has been his weakness as long as he’s been a Dodger. He’s having a horrible series. Game 1, 2 E, 2 PB, 0 for. Game 2 GIDP with bases loaded and 1 out. Game 3, K with runners on 2 and 3 and fails to block the pitch in the dirt that lead to the 2nd run.

    But this is a team loss so far.

  20. If we come back in this game, vs. Hader and his friends, we’ll win the World Series.

    I’m not holding my breath, however

  21. Remember Buehler last year?

    Look at him this year!

    Next year, he will be even better!

    But, he’s a rookie and this is not next year. Roberts was asking him to be the old Kershaw, but that’s next year…not now!

  22. And what’s happened to Cody? That ball he misplayed into a triple and then the big K with Turner on 2nd?

  23. There was nothing that said Buehler had to be removed. And if he was removed and his replacement gave up any runs, that move would have been questioned.

  24. RISP bites this team in the ass again. Third and second with one out all you need is a flyball or even a ground out with the defense back but Grandal strikes out. He later leads off an inning and gets a bloop double but Hernandez can’t move him over and inexplicably Walker doesn’t swing the bat at all (not sure why since the double play concern was not in play). Coaching?????????

    1. Chacin obviously had his breaking ball working. Our hitter couldn’t touch it and Buehler got buckled every time during two AB’s.

  25. Austin Barnes needs to start tomorrow. He can’t hit any worse than Grandal and he won’t play worse defense.

    1. Grandal’s glove work is not major league level, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it.

  26. Right now we don’t look like we really came to play tonight, unless we come up in the bottom of the eighth, and start playing, like we should.

    I don’t see any real energy right now though.

  27. The Dodgers do not deserve to win. We do not do the little things to win ball games. I hope Grandal never catches another game for the Dodgers. I would also like to see Doc manage another team. He will not even defend his players.

  28. Dodgers, if today you are going to score 3 runs and leave the tie on base, PLEASE…..it would be better not to score any!

    1. Anything that gets Hader’s pitch count up is a good thing. This is a 7 game series and most likely they see Gio tomorrow who will be on a short leash.
      ~
      This is quickly becoming the Grandal series but let’s not forget many of us were wondering why he was trotted out there game after game vs the Mets when he was choking in the playoffs that year.

  29. What’s frustrating is we have this reputation as a team that somehow gets it done. That kind of approach only lasts so long. This was a prime moment to prove our mettle and we’ve failed. Maybe Milwaukee is just better. We’ll find out tomorrow.

  30. I turned the game off in the 8th, watching more and expecting different results would be insanity on my part.

  31. Maybe after not winning it all since 1988, the Dodgers are going to have to do it the hard way. If it happens, it won’t be easy.

  32. Cite all the favorable stats on Grandal all day long. He has a brick for a glove and he can’t hit when most important, besides that he has as much speed as a tortoise. Please don’t sign this guy for more painful viewing.

    1. Barnes could have hit for him never took the bat off his shoulder and had a better chance. Grandal same story every October. I don’t need any more excuses for him. He’s 7 for 83 now and he’s a veteran.
      ~
      Poor AB by Bellinger. Take a damn strike. They need another base runner.

  33. Dodgers – 2nd and 3rd with 0 out Bellinger pops up. Bases full Grandal and Dozier both K. You’ve got to knock in RISP.

    Too many chances with poor outcomes.

    And stop using Wood in relief. He doesn’t look good.

    Who likes the Dodgers’ chances tomorrow after seeing what we’ve seen thus far?

    1. I like the Dodger’s chances tomorrow. I will like them better if Grandal and Bellinger don’t start the game. Hill needs to be in vintage form and the bats need to wake up. The Stadium will be rocking and just waiting for something to cheer. Hader is human and has not been used 3 straight all year so they will probably watch his pitch count.

  34. Jorge Valenzuela, that was just for u. As if losing wasn’t bad enough, they tease us with that, and then end it in typical strikeout with the bases loaded fashion.

    Oh well, just win tomorrow and make this a 3 game series.

  35. Grandal could have shut everyone up on this site. He didn’t. And then Dozier just stands at the plate and watches called strike 3 go by. Just wonder what might have happened if CT3 has gotten a chance to win the game.

    Well, tomorrow’s another day.

  36. Pressure is on us. Hader hardly pitched and down 2-1. Let’s hope Dick Mountain has his A game.

    1. Agreed big time! The bats are about to explode but no one was patient tonight and the ump expanded the zone. If Hill gets those calls he will be tough. It’s all about breaking ball command for him, we’ll know in the 1st 2 innings.

  37. Alot to be frustrated about, but hats off to Brewers, well played.
    And, Buehler pitched well also. Pretty tough to pitch as well as he did for 7 innings with your offense not executing.
    Watching third strikes on the corners is getting old, isn’t it?

  38. Kike Hernandez, courtesy of ESPN.com:
    “Kiké Hernandez, on Dodgers fans booing Yasmani Grandal and calling for Austin Barnes: “It sucks that there’s nothing going on in the stands since the first inning when Braun hit that double. It’s quiet for the rest of the evening, and it sucks that they got loud just to show up Yasmani.””

  39. I see some definite cracks in the armor and a good team that is starting to come apart at the seams. Hernandez confronting fans, come on Keeks.

    Their talent got them this far but against a slightly less talented but more sound team we are now struggling. Playing for the home run was bound to catch up eventually and in this series clearly has. One home run, albeit a timely one, will not get it done when you hit as poorly as we do with RISP, never advance runners, and are average on defense. We cannot win 4 games playing Milwaukee’s brand of baseball, trailing 27 of the 29 innings should tell you that. Too late too make siginificant changes, but at least get the mental/ overworked catcher off the field and the lost sophomore and hope for the best. Barnes the rest of the way regardless of hand, Taylor instead of Bellinger in center. Season on the line at 6:09, feel an article about that incoming in the morning.

  40. I know this sounds crazy, but I am not even stressed about tonight. Bummed, yeah a little bit, but this is the 2018 Dodgers, and by now we all know they do nothing the easy way. It has to be hauling ass down the freeway with your butt hanging out the window with no tomorrow. I can totally see us going 7 in Milwaukee and winning it in the last inning, that’s how this team rolls this year. So, buckle up and hang on, it’s gonna get bumpy again. But with these guys, did you expect anything different? We will be ok, just going to add about 20 years of stress onto us fans.

  41. That was a terrible game to watch.
    To me it’s amazing that Bellinger gets as much playing time as he does.
    Grandal, well, another PB & totally non clutch performance to add to his legacy.
    Seems crazy to me not to play the Hot Hands at this time of year.

  42. I don’t care who’s pitching for the Brewers… this would be my starting lineup for the rest of the series.
    Taylor CF
    Turner 3B
    Freese 1B (Needs to stay in for the entire game)
    Manny SS
    Joc LF
    Puig RF
    Dozier 2B (Kike can come in to pinch hit / play defense later in games)
    Barnes C

    I would hold back Muncy and Kemp so that they’re available to pinch hit for the pitcher in a few key spots later in games.
    Cody & Kike can come in to pinch hit and play defense later in games.
    And at this point, I would much rather see Ryu or Kershaw at the plate with the bases loaded than to give Yaz another chance at it.

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