At least for the first month of the 2016 season, it looked like the New York Mets made out just fine in swapping out Daniel Murphy for Neil Walker at second base. That is because Walker matched Murphy with a monster April as he slammed 9 home runs, collected 19 RBI, and hit .307 which were career-best rates on a per game basis. It was obvious Walker would cool however and from May onward, he went through some extreme peaks and valleys with his hitting. For example Walker was downright putrid in June with a .214 average but then was absolutely locked in during August as he hit a ridiculous .389. Unfortunately the August hot stretch was not allowed to go into September as Walker was forced to undergo season-ending back surgery. The real shame was that Walker was not able to add to his career-high tying 23 home runs and his .282 batting average was his highest since 2010 which shows how effective a season the veteran was having. Outside of the home runs, pretty much everything else was right in line with Walker’s hitting norms but back surgery is a huge red flag moving forward as we can go on forever giving you examples of guys who were never the same off such a procedure. While still young at the age of 30, Walker is now a big injury risk given his back condition. His draft price is always affordable despite the yearly solid numbers but even at that cheap rate, Walker is someone who looks like he peaked in 2016 prior to his back going out.
2017 PROJECTION: .273 19 HR 71 RBI 67 R 2 SB