The 2014 minor league regular season came to an end this past Monday, and none of the five major Baltimore Orioles affiliates made the postseason, but that does not overshadow the fact that some players in the organization had quite an impressive 2014. One of those players who had an impressive year is quickly rising up the prospect rankings and is not far from making the journey to Charm City, as first baseman Christian Walker opened a lot of eyes this season.
Walker, an Orioles fourth round selection in the 2012 MLB Draft out of the University of South Carolina, had one of, if not the most impressive offensive season in the entire O's farm system this year.
Overall in 2014 across all levels, Walker led all Orioles minor leaguers with 26 home runs and 96 RBI, while tying for tenth with his .288 batting average as well. He also added an impressive 25 doubles, two triples, 56 walks, 73 runs scored, a .357 on base percentage and a .846 OPS. .
Those are his overall numbers for the year covering both his time with the Baysox and Tides.
Walker played 95 games with the Baysox before being promoted to Norfolk, but despite that, he still finished near the top in every offensive category in the Eastern League (AA) once the season was over. His 366 at bats with the Baysox still kept him qualified at the end of the season to be ranked with the league leaders and his .301 average finished the season ranked sixth. His 20 home runs with the Baysox ranked eighth, his 77 RBI ranked second, and his .884 OPS ranked second despite just the 95 games played. That's pretty darn impressive.
He was able to play in 44 games with the Tides after being promoted and although his numbers came down a little bit, he still showed that he could handle the enhanced competition. In his 44 games with the Tides, Walker hit .259 with six home runs, 19 RBI, 10 doubles, and 71 total bases. He also posted a .335 on base percentage.
Today, Walker was named a Baseball America 2nd-team Minor League All-Star.
We will touch on Dariel Alvarez's impressive 2014 season as well at a later date, but the consensus here, and many people we have spoken to throughout the organization is that this year's Brook Robinson Orioles Minor League Player of the Year Award will go to either Walker or Alvarez.
Walker is currently a member of the "taxi-squad" in Sarasota right now serving as a just incase player for the Orioles this month, but if his opportunity does not come this season, there is little to no doubt that Walker will get the call at some point next season.
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