Cards top prospect Jordan Walker makes Opening Day roster

The Jordan Walker show has begun in St. Louis

The St. Louis Cardinals made the official announcement on Saturday that Walker has made the Opening Day roster for the 2023 season. The 20-year-old rookie will make his big-league debut without having played in a single Triple-A game.

CBS Sports recently ranked Walker as the sixth best prospect in the minors. He’s since earned his way onto the roster by posting an .831 OPS in his first 62 spring training plate appearances. Here’s what we wrote at the time:

Walker has immense strength, resulting in the kind of raw power that could make him a prototypical middle-of-the-order slugger. In order to fully access that pop, scouts expect that he’ll need to continue to learn how to lift the ball more frequently — last season, more than 45 percent of his batted balls were grounders. (A point in his favor is that most evaluators believe it’s easier to train launch angle than exit velocity.) There was always a chance Walker would outgrow the hot corner, and the Cardinals have already taken to cross-training him in the outfield. Whatever position Walker ends up playing, his bat will be the main draw. It’s conceivable that he could become the latest young Cardinals hitter to take regular at-bats sometime in 2023. 

Walker had a sensational Spring Training, for the most part. In 19 Spring Training games, Walker went 18-for-63 (.286) with five doubles, three home runs and nine RBIs. There was a bit of a surge in strikeouts over the past two weeks, but Walker still finished the Spring strong, and gave upper management high hopes for the future.

“As of right now, Jordan Walker will make our club,” president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said on Saturday. “We were always very high on him coming into camp and he did a lot of things to impress a lot of people. He’s obviously a very mature player and has a great understanding of the game. He opened up a lot of eyes here in this camp, and he is someone who benefited from other people not being here [due to the World Baseball Classic].”

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