White Sox Select OF Keenyn Walker with 1st Pick

White Sox Select OF Keenyn Walker with 1st Pick

With their first pick in the 2011 MLB Draft the White Sox selected switch-hitting outfielder Keenyn Walker from Central Arizona JC.

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Keenyn Walker

Walker, 6'03", 193 lbs, is a highly athletic outfield prospect who flashes good tools across the board. Speed is Walker's best tool, where he grades out at anywhere between a 65 (Baseball America) and a true 80 (John Sickels, Keith Law), and he stole 65 bases this year against just 3 CS (96% SB%). He has some pop, particularly from the left side, but will likely be more of a doubles/triples threat than a home run hitter.

Walker has decent patience at the plate as he led his team in walks this year with 36 (16.8 BB% (BB/AB)), which, combined with his speed, gives him potential as a top of the order hitter, but in order to reach that potential he will need to watch the strikeouts, which have been a problem for him. Walker struck out 45 times this year (21% K% (SO/AB)), which again led his team.

Defensively, Walker has the range to play center. He shows a solid arm and should prove to be at least an average defender at a premium position, though he does need to work on his route running.

Baseball America had Walker ranked as the #92 prospect in this class, and I'm sure the last thing many were hoping for was another athlete with strikeout issues in the mold of a Jordan Danks, Jared Mitchell or Trayce Thompson, after watching that trio struggle mightily in making consistent contact. But the White Sox stated a few years ago that they wanted to get more athletes into the system and they've certainly done that here.

There's no denying that Keenyn Walker is a premium athlete, but with major question marks over his hitting ability, he'll need to do a lot of work before we can start to think about him patrolling center field in the Cell.

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