The Pittsburgh Kid

“We have great coaches and Maz. I want to become one of the top second baseman in baseball.”
Neil Walker

Neil Walker learned to play second base at the Major League level. Neil Walker is a Pittsburgh native who was drafted by the Pirates in the first round of Baseball’s Amateur Draft in 2004. Walker won a Silver Slugger award as a second baseman in 2014. Neil Walker was traded by the Pirates to the New York Mets in December of 2015. Walker originally was signed by the Pirates as a catcher, was moved to third base while he was in the Minor Leagues, and then shifted to second base. Neil’s father, Tom, pitched in the Major Leagues for several years in the 1970’s. Walker’s brother-in-law, Don Kelly, has played in the Major Leagues for several years and currently is with the Miami Marlins Triple-A team in New Orleans.

Neil Walker was in his seventh year in the Minor Leagues when in May of 2010 he was recalled by the Pittsburgh Pirates. It always was a joy to be around Neil Walker when he played for the Indianapolis Indians because of his positive, upbeat attitude. I saw Neil Walker make great progress as a hitter during his time in Indianapolis (2007-2010). When he first went to the Triple-A level – from the broadcast booth, I could see his back muscles tighten up at times. That changed. Walker became more relaxed at the plate and more selective. While Neil Walker would have liked to have made it to the Major Leagues sooner, he spent a great deal of time in the Minor Leagues learning and improving, so that when he was recalled by the Pirates in 2010, he was more than ready, and that is why he never had to look back and has been in the Major Leagues to stay. Neil’s power numbers are among the best for second basemen. He already has hit eight home runs for the Mets this season. I have gotten to know Neil’s parents, Tom and Carolyn. They are wonderful people who live in Pittsburgh. And while they miss seeing Neil on a daily basis, they are delighted that The Pittsburgh Kid is thriving in New York!

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