Neil Walker didn’t want to wait until Spring Training to sign a major league contract like he did last season. He has come out and said signing so late had a major effect on his sluggish start to the season. To avoid that slow start he signed a 1 year deal with the Miami Marlins.

The 33 year old will help fill a roster spot on the rebuilding Marlins team. The Marlins are saying he will platoon with youngster Peter O’Brien at 1B while playing some 2B and 3B. At least that’s what the Marlins are saying, while Roster Resource has Walker batting 5th and playing first, while O’Brien is playing in left field.

Walker wasn’t joking when he said the late signing affected his start last season. In 2018, as a member of the Yankees Walker hit .197 with 3 home runs in 60 first half games. On the contrary in 50 second half games Walker hit .247 with 8 home runs. Quite the improvement as he seemed to get comfortable at the plate.

Overall last season Walker hit .213 with 11 home runs, 48 runs scored and drove in 46. Those overall numbers, outside of the average isn’t bad for a platoon player only playing around 110 games. But, there are definite reasons to be optimistic for a nice 2019 season with the Marlins. According to Baseball Savant’s advanced stats Walker was quite unlucky in 2018. His BA – xBA was -.032 which is a decent gap. His SLG – xSLG was a very large -.075. While his wOBA – xwOBA was a solid -.040. All three categories point to some definite overall positive regression and especially some positive regression in the power department for Walker.

When looking at projections they haven’t bought in on Walker, yet that is. Most of the sites are projecting 65-75 games from Walker and based on early reports from the Marlins, Walker could be in store for at least 130 or so games. By looking at past production, the potential of positive regression, playing time and more I’d say we could be looking at a .250+ average with 15+ home runs and 60+ runs and RBIs.

Neil Walker 2018 Spray Chart over Marlins Park

What does all this mean for your Fantasy Baseball teams? Well, let’s look at a player with some overall positive production. A player that should see regular playing time in the middle of a batting order. A player that is going at pick 643.75 in NFBC DC leagues since January 1st. With all that, you have some really good value for a player going in the 42 round of a 15 team league. Neil walker should be on your radar as a later round draft option or definitely on your watch list after drafts are completed.