The Cardinals have announced the signing of first-round draft selection Jordan Walker (h/t Mark Saxon of The Athletic, on Twitter). He’ll forego his commitment to Duke University.
The Georgia high school third baseman will receive a $2.9MM bonus, per MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). He was taken with the 21st overall selection, which came with a $3.13MM slot allocation.
Many draft watchers graded Walker as an early second-round player, but he went a fair bit higher to the Cards. Keith Law of The Athletic had the highest overall grade (#29). That viewpoint is presumably reflected in Walker’s signing value.
That’s not to say there’s a lack of excitement surrounding the big and athletic high schooler. Walker is a fleet-footed masher with a powerful throwing arm. The questions creep in with Walker’s relatively undeveloped hit tool. Here’s how MLB.com frames the situation:
“There are some mixed opinions on his hitting ability because his size creates a naturally long swing and he needs to improve his ability to recognize breaking balls. But he also shows some feel for hitting and the ability to make adjustments, so he should make enough contact to tap into his pop.”
It sounds as if Walker will be a fun player for Cards fans to watch as he develops. There’s upside aplenty, even if he ultimately moves to right field or first base.