HomeTeamsMetsWhat Can the Mets Expect From Josh Walker 

What Can the Mets Expect From Josh Walker 

With the injury of Brooks Raley, the Mets called up Josh Walker to be the second lefty in the Mets bullpen. Walker, a tall hard throwing lefty, had a brief call up last year and didn’t perform well according to his overall numbers. However, the lefty has big stuff and could be yet another valuable arm out of the pen, when the Mets miss Raley. 

Replacing what Raley has done so far for the Mets is an unreasonable expectation. Raley was unscored upon in seven innings of work, with 9 strikeouts and a 0.73WHIP. With the injury to Raley, the Mets will turn to Jake Diekman to get the big outs from the left side. Walker will likely replace the spots Diekman got as an early inning lefty or an arm to get in a blowout. 

So, what can we expect from Walker?  

Walker pitched to an 8.10 ERA over 10 innings of work in his brief stints in the majors last year. His main issue was the walk. Over those 10 innings, he allowed 6 walks. He also allowed more than ahit per inning, which made him pay for the walks he allowed. Still, Walker showed a tremendous strikeout rate, with his big Fastball.  

Walks and allowing hard hits isn’t a good combo and that is exactly what Walker did in the Majors. Still, his stuff played as his expected ERA stood at 4.83. Obviously not great but a lot better than the 8.10 ERA he owns. 

So far in the minor leagues, Walker has been tremendous. He owns a 2.79 ERA over 9.2 innings, walking 5 and striking out 10. An alarming walk rate, which has to improve. In 2023, Walker was even more dominant in AAA with a 1.87 ERA over 29.1 innings, striking out 40 and allowing 13 walks.  

Walker owns a big Fastball, which doesn’t wow you in velo. However, as a tall lefty he gets tremendous extension, which was in the 97th percentile in 2023. As we saw with Manaea, a 94.6 average Fastball from the left side with high extension, plays up. Unfortunately, in the Majors, the Fastball still got hit. He allowed a .346/.444/.619 slash line against that pitch. Although his expected slash against the Fastball was slightly better, it’s still wouldn’t work (.260/.374/.519). This could be an issue as Walker got behind in the count often and got himself into fastball counts? Also, he threw the Fastball over 60% of the time, so maybe time to mix in his Curveball more? Something to keep an eye on over his outings, if he is still Fastball heavy.  

About the Curve, that turned out to be a tremendous pitch for Walker. The expected slash line against his Curve was .206/.273/.309 with a slash line against off .188/.224/.188. The curve in the majors got a ton of whiffs with a 48.4% Whiff rate. He threw the Curve at a 32.9% rate, which is a fair amount for a secondary pitch. However, with the trouble with his Fastball, he might need to go to the Curveball more often? 

In the end, you can still see the promising in the 29-year-old lefty. Lefties with a solid velo and a good curve, can become a solid reliever. It might help for Walker to throw his Change-up more often to keep hitters of his Fastball and Curve combination? Still, a lefty who takes a long stride with a mid 90’s Fastball and a high Whiff Rate Curve, should get more success in the majors. 

If he is able to get ahead more often with the Fastball or even drop in a Scherzer special (Curve to get ahead), it will make pitching a lot more easier for Walker. Control is everything and at 29 year old, it’s time for Walker to shine. I would keep a close eye on his control and his pitch usage. We saw how pitch usage could make a huge difference in Reed Garrett. Time for Walker to follow that path?

Corne Hogeveen
Corne Hogeveenhttps://mlbreport.com/
Mets fan from the Netherlands since 2006. As a European fan, trying to get to as many games as possible. Mets writer for MLBreport and Co-host of the Queens Connection Podcast. Author of Diary of a Dutch Mets fan


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