The most recent Orioles debut surprised me somewhat, mainly due to how late it was happening in the season. Christian Walker was just called up to the O's after they clinched the AL East on Tuesday night. He had to be added to the 40 man roster and his service clock is starting now, so you know that the team must see something that they like in him. It also is fairly directly tied to Chris Davis's positive adderall test and suspension and the need for another first baseman on the roster.
Christian had been working at the Orioles instructional league program in Sarasota for just this type of reason. Every year the O's send a group of 10-15ish minor league position players and pitchers to Sarasota to stay fresh in case any needs come up with the big league club after the minor league season ends at the beginning of September.
This Shorebirds signed card is the only autograph I have of his right now, but it works just fine for my collection, at least until I try to get one of my dad's custom O's cards signed. Christian has been included in a few minor league team sets over the years (2012 Ironbirds, 2013 Shorebirds, 2014 Baysox & Eastern League All-star set) and he seems to be a good signer. I saw him sign for multiple people at both Norfolk Tides games that I attended this year, but didn't have any unsigned cards of his at that point. Much to my dismay at this point. But one autograph is better than none!
Christian was drafted by the Orioles in the 4th round of the 2012 draft after a successful college career with the South Carolina Gamecocks. He made his professional debut with the short season A ball Ironbirds, and spent time at every ensuing level of the O's farm system. In 2013, he progressed from the lo A Shorebirds, to the hi A Keys, all the way to the AA Baysox in a single season. (Generally, jumping two levels in a single season is a good sign.) 2014 saw Christian start the year in Bowie before moving to AAA Norfolk mid-summer. He hit a combined 26 home-runs with 96 RBI this year, and yes, that was good enough to earn the call to Baltimore.
He made his major league and Orioles debut last night, September 17, and went 1-3 with a double in the game. He did enough to be the recipient of Adam Jones' post-game pie, and it was a very cool moment for the rookie. I have a feeling that we will be seeing more of Christian in the coming seasons in Baltimore. Good luck to him.
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