In 2009, Walker graduated from Kennedy-Kenrick High School in Limerick, Pennsylvania. He was rated the best high school player in the state that year after he hit .488.
Christian was born and raised in Norristown, Pa. Other Norristown natives include Hall of Famers Tommy Lasorda (baseball), Mike Piazza (baseball) and Geno Auriemma (college basketball).
Christian once won the International High School Showcase Home Run Derby in St. Petersburg, Fla.
In 2009, the Dodgers chose Christian in the 49th round, but he chose to accept the baseball scholarship to the University of South Carolina.
He was a key bat in the Gamecocks teams that were national champs in 2010 and 2011. Overall, Walker played in 206 games and hit 336/.427/.533 with 30 home runs and 137 runs batted in at South Carolina.
In 2012, Walker signed with the Orioles (see Transactions below).
In 2013,Baseball America rated Christian as the 12th-best prospect in the Orioles' organization. He was at #18 in the winter before 2014 spring training, and at #3 in the off-season before 2015 spring camps opened. They had Walker at #14 in the spring of 2016, and at #23 in the spring of 2017, and at #26 in the spring of 2018.
Walker moved quickly in the Orioles system. He received a Major League look in September 2014, after playing only two Minor League seasons. He hit 26 home runs last year at Double-A Bowie (20) and Triple-A Norfolk (6).
In 2014, Walker was the Orioles Minor League Player of the Year and the Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year. He hit a combined .288/.357/.489 with 53 extra-base hits, 96 RBIs and 73 runs scored in 139 total games with Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk leading all Orioles Minor Leaguers in home runs (26) and RBIs.
Football was the first love of Christian until he suffered a severe ankle injury in high school. That forced him to playing only baseball.
Christian is married to Amanda. The couple met as freshmen at Kennedy Kendrick Catholic High School in Pennsylvania in 2006.
2019 Season: Walker moved on to the Diamondbacks where he continued to mull around Triple-A before bursting onto the scene in 2019. Playing in 152 games for the Diamondbacks, Walker hit .259 with 29 home runs and a 112 wRC+. He was worth 2.2 fWAR for Arizona.
2021 Season: Walker has a respectable eight-season resume in the minors (.284 with 127 home runs and 488 RBI over 2,89 at-bats). He spent part of six seasons at AAA (.278 with 322 runs, 94 home runs and 346 RBI over 2,059 at-bats).
The Diamondbacks gave him starting at-bats (529) in 2019, leading to 86 runs, 29 home runs, 73 RBI and eight steals while hitting .259. He had risk in his strikeout rate (25.7) while doing a good job taking walks (11.1%).
In 2020, he was on pace for 95 runs, 19 home runs, 92 RBI, with a bump in his batting average (.271). Walker did push his approach closer to the league average (strikeout rate – 20.6 and walk rate – 7.8).
Last year he landed on the injured list twice over the first two months, leading to five missed weeks. Walker only had 25 runs, four home runs and 21 RBI over 197 at-bats at the All-Star break. His bat never round into power form over his final 204 at-bats (.265 with 30 runs, six home runs and 25 RBI).
His average hit rate (1.561) was his lowest in five seasons, along with his contact batting average (.332). Walker needs to improve against lefties (.240 with no home runs and nine RBI over 121 at-bats).
After posting a career-high HR/FB rate (20.1) in 2019, he had regression in back-to-back years (12.1 and 8.7) while gaining back some loft (fly-ball rate – 38.7). (SHAWN CHILDS - Feb. 17, 2022)
- June 2012: Walker signed with the Orioles when they chose him in the 4th round, out of the Univ. of South Carolina. He got a bonus of $349,900, signing with scout Chris Gale.
Feb 25, 2017: The Braves claimed Walker off waivers from the Orioles.
March 6, 2017: The Reds claimed Walker off waivers from the Braves.
- March 28, 2017: The D-backs claimed Walker off waivers from the Reds.
- March 5, 2020: Walker signed a one-year, $589,500 contract with Arizona.
|DOB:||3/28/1991||Agent:||CAA Sports - Joe Urbon|
|Birth City:||Norristown, PA|
|Draft:||Orioles #4 - 2012 - Out of Univ. of So. Carolina|
Walker is a righthanded hitting first baseman with good, but not great power. But with his bat-to-ball skills, he's going to hit, and it wouldn't surprise if he turns into a Kevin Millar-like player. There's potential for some impact there.
His power began really coming on in 2014. And it showed up again when he hit 13 home runs the 2nd half of the 2015 season. He has sacrificed power for contact at every level, then gets more comfy and confident and settling in.
"I think the power's always been there," Walker said in 2014. "I kind of always knew it was just a matter of timing or getting in a certain rhythm or something as little as my weight and where I'm at contact, even my pre-pitch setup and all that. Everything's clicking and it feels good."
Christian has always been a pretty patient hitter. He controls the strike zone and is a savvy hitter. He needs to learn to look for a particular pitch and better understand counts and how pitchers are working him. (Spring, 2014)
"I pride myself on my discipline at the plate," he said.
Walker understands his fundamentally strong righthanded stroke. It features good hip rotation. He has highly impressive bat-to-ball skills. He is a tough out. He keeps his bat in the zone for a long time.
He can drive the ball to right and right-center field. He is known as a solid hitter with good power to the gaps. Working with Orioles' minor league hitting coordinator Jeff Manto to increase his power, Christian keeps his bat in the zone a long time, recognizes pitches and has good bat speed.
Walker has received comparisons to Kevin Millar and Steve Pearce.
Strong and athletic, the 6-foot, 220-pound Walker makes good barrel-of-the-bat contact. He drives the ball using quick hands that he keeps inside the ball very well. A tough out, Walker is the type of hitter that can destroy a high velocity fastball. He recognizes pitches well, and his bat control allows him to use the entire field.
Using a short, compact swing, Walker takes advantage of his legs and trunk in getting as much power through the ball as possible. A disciplined hitter, Walker's hitting mechanics are sound and work very well for him.
In 2014, Walker was named the Orioles Minor League Player of the Year after he led the system with 27 home runs and 97 RBIs. Walker batted .288/.357/.489 with 25 doubles between Bowie and Norfolk. He was called up in September and cracked his first Major League home run on Sept. 20, 2014 against Red Sox righty Rubby De La Rosa.
2016 Season: Walker recognizes pitches well and possesses good bat speed, and he worked himself into better hitters counts, but his above-average power is mitigated by a poor contact rate.
2017 Season: Walker made changes to his bat path that helped produce more contact, which reduced his strikeouts from 25% to 18% in the 2017 season. Coaches rave about his hitting acumen. (Spring 2018)
- As of the start of the 2021 season, Christian's career Major League stats were: .253 batting average, 42 home runs with 116 RBI in 835 at-bats.
Christian can play a little at third base, but in reality, he is pretty much limited to first base. He moves well around the bag. His hands are pretty good.
Walker has improved his footwork but is more competent than actually being an asset on defense.
"I'm becoming comfortable with my defense," Christian said, having put in a lot of extra work at first base. "I keep working on everything—footwork around the bag, handling ground balls, everything. I don't want to be a liability there." (June, 2015)
Walker has a below-average arm.
But he is actually good at digging low throws at first base from his fellow infielders. And he fully extends for every ball.
- Christian's bat will carry him as far as he goes. He has good-enough range at first base, though.
While he can play both corner infield positions, Walker has spent his development time as a first baseman. That is likely his permanent home. He has improved his agility and footwork around first base and his reaction time and reflexes are advanced enough to play the position well.
Christian's hands are sure, his arm is solid and, overall, he has the ability to be an average Major League quality defender.
In 2016, the Orioles’ plan calls for Walker to play left field on a regular basis after getting two starts in Grapefruit League games.
“It’s a new experience,” said Walker, 25, a righthanded batter. “It could be an opportunity. I’ve just got to keep hitting and learn the new position.”
Walker is fringe-average at first. He worked hard to improve defensively in the outfield. Eventually, he became, but not good. (Spring 2018)
- In 2019, Walker was a Gold Glove candidate. Although then-Chicago Cub Anthony Rizzo ultimately won, Walker had better defensive metrics. Walker finished first among NL first basemen in Total Zone Runs (Rtot) with 10, while Rizzo — with six — tied for fourth. In Runs Saved (Rdrs — Defensive Runs above Average, from Baseball Info Solutions), Walker finished first (nine), while Rizzo, with five, tied for fourth.
- In 2019 and 2020 with the D-backs, Walker played first base exclusively. (Baseball-Reference.com - Feb 2021)
- Christian lacks speed and mobility. He is a 40 runner, so below-average.
- Walker has very little speed.
- In 2019 with the D-backs, Walker stole 8 bases and got caught only once.
June 2011: Walker suffered a broken bone in his hand, but played through it after doctors looked at an X-ray and CT-scan and said he could not make it worse by playing.
August 9, 2012: Christian was on the D.L. with lower-back soreness.
August 12, 2013: Walker was on the D.L. with a sore lower back.
September 25-end of 2018 season: Christian's season was over a little early. He suffered a sinus fracture after being hit in the face by a fastball from Dodgers righthander Kenta Maeda. Walker underwent surgery and had his jaw wired shut for a week. He'll also be limited to a liquid diet for a month.
July 12, 2020: Walker has a strained right groin. He missed some practice time but was ready for the opener.
April 12-May 3, 2021: Walker was on the IL with strained right oblique.
- May 12-29, 2021: Walker was placed on the 10-day IL with a right oblique strain.