Next up is Neil Walker. Walker’s first season in pinstripes was a disappointing one, at least offensively. He slashed .219/.309/.354 en route to a campaign worth just 0.1 win, according to fWAR. His wRC+ was 81, identical to Desmond’s and below league-average. By OPS+, Walker’s 79 marked his first below-average offensive season since his rookie year in 2009 with the Pirates. It was also worse than Desmond’s OPS+ of 83.
Walker did have Desmond beat in groundball rate, at 39.4 percent. This makes Walker, like Murphy, better suited for Coors Field than Desmond.
He had serious competition for playing time to deal with as well, with breakout rookies Miguel Andújar and Gleyber Torres, deadline acquisition Luke Voit, and Greg Bird all vying for playing time in the Yankees infield. He did see 318.2 innings worth of work at first base, though, and was fairly similar to Murphy in terms of defensive production. His UZR was -0.2, with -1 DRS. He had Murphy beat in RZR, with a slightly above-average mark of .838.
Should the Rockies seriously pursue Walker? If there are better options out there, he should be more of a last-resort choice. His defensive output is better than what the Rockies have now, but at 33 years old coming off a below-average offensive season, it’s uncertain whether 2018 was a fluke caused by sporadic playing time or a look into the crystal ball at what’s still to come for Walker.