Dodgers: AFL Prospects who Impressed and Disappointed
By Nate Eckert
Best Offensive Performance: Jared Walker (3B/1B)-
Earlier this year when I previewed the AFL, Jared Walker’s bat intrigued me with his tape-measure home runs, lofting in the air after explosions comparable to cherry-bombs rang across all angles of the stadium in Rancho Cucamonga.
This kid’s raw power is off the charts. I was excited to see how he’d do against stiffer competition, after mashing his way through 2018, with 25 long-balls on the season. He certainly didn’t disappoint this Fall.
Walker’s role with the Desert Dogs was very similar to what people around the AFL call, “a taxi-cab” player. In other words, he had a part-time role with the team. For various reasons that are instantiated by differing organizations, groups, or sometimes by the manager of the AFL team.
Imagine being an everyday player, making the trip to Arizona, only to find that you’re not full-time. This aspect alone can be very hard on certain players. Therefore, keep in mind that Walker’s “counting stats” (RBI’s, HR’s, Runs Scored, etc.) came from up-to 30 AB’s less than most everyday AFL starters.
Apparently, however, Jared Walker didn’t get the memo regarding that his role was supposed to be: “part-time.” Through just 53 AB’s, Walker bashed 3 home runs (2nd most on the Desert Dogs), 10 RBI’s (2nd most on the Desert Dogs), with 22 total bases, 11 BB, 24 K’s, and finishing with an average of .226, a SLG% of .415, and an OPS of .769. Not bad for a “taxi-cab” player.