Cincinnati Reds add Christian Walker as another option to back-up Joey Votto at first base

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds added Christian Walker from the Atlanta Braves as a back-up option for Joey Votto.

The Cincinnati Reds have been searching all off-season for back-up corner infielders and back-up corner outfielders.  Christian Walker was claimed off of waivers and has a similar defensive profile to that of last year’s All-Star, Adam Duvall.  He is a first baseman that has transitioned to left because he was blocked from the big leagues at first.

All 90 games that Walker has played in left field happened last year at Norfolk.  Prior to that he had played 375 minor league games at first base.  In the majors he has only played first base.

For the Reds this spring, he has split time between left and first.  Unfortunately, so far he hasn’t shown much capacity to hit.  He is only 3 of 12 with no walks so far.

Walker’s whole attraction is that he is an OBP machine.  He has a minor league career OBP of .342, never going below .319 at any stop.  He is also only a .276 hitter meaning that he gains 70 points of OBP from walks, HBP, and getting on with speed.

As a first baseman, that is primarily through walks.  He has 189 walks over five minor league season.  That isn’t a ton, but it would work out to about 75 if he played everyday in the majors.

More from Reds News

Christian Walker has little chance of making the Cincinnati Reds out of spring training, but he is here for later.

Desmond Jennings and Ryan Raburn may end up not making the team out of spring training, but there are others before Walker.  Jennings and Raburn were supposed to be the duo  of veterans that would allow the Reds to carry three catchers and a prospect to start four times a week to break into the big leagues.

Jesse Winker still looks like a shoo-in to make the team out of spring training a year after it looked like he may have made it.

He has been doing everything asked of him.  He also could play every other day and back-up most of the team, if the Reds are willing to let Duvall play some third this season.

On the non-roster front, Patrick Kivlehan is several steps ahead of Walker.  They play the same positions, but Kivlehan is ahead in his offensive development.  He also appears more comfortable playing multiple positions.

Next: What we've learned so far about the Reds

Of course there are also the super prospects too, those prospects who are developing more quickly than expected.  Blake Trahan is the perfect example of this and TJ Friedl is right beside him.  With all of this competition about the only way Walker ends up in Cincinnati this year is because of an injury to Mr. MVP Joey Votto.