Jeremy Walker an all-star for AA Braves

Published 9:03 am Friday, June 14, 2019

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A pitcher’s record can be deceiving. Jeremy Walker’s record (1-4) for the Mississippi Braves does not come close to telling Walker’s 2019 story as the season nears the halfway point.

The Southern League announced on June 4 that Walker and five Mississippi teammates were named to the South Division roster for the 2019 All-Star Game on June 18 in Biloxi, Ms.

How cool is that?

Walker offered flashes of greatness in his first three years in the Braves’ farm system, posting ERAs between 3.18-3.84 for Danville (rookie level), Single-A Rome and Advanced-A Florida while making 27 starts on the mound in 2017 and 26 in 2018.

But he has made a huge statement as a reliever for Double-A Mississippi. Walker, a 23-year-old righthander from Advance who was picked in the fifth round in the 2016 draft and earned a $275,000 signing bonus, saved the first two games of his pro career on May 29 and May 30 at Pensacola. He ranks fourth in the Southern League with a 1.05 WHIP and is 10th in the league with a 2.59 ERA.

His first seven appearances in 2019 were very good. He allowed 13 earned runs in 36.2 innings, resulting in a 2.48 ERA.

That’s nothing to sneeze at, but Walker has taken his game to another level in recent weeks. The meteoric ascent began May 23 at home against Jacksonville. As the closer, he threw two scoreless, one-hit innings in a 5-2 loss. Then came two scoreless innings as the closer in a 4-0 win over Jacksonville, a two-out save in a 6-4 win over Pensacola, a scoreless eighth inning in a 3-0 loss to Biloxi and two scoreless innings with four strikeouts in a 5-1 win over Biloxi.

The 6-5, 205-pounder has pitched flawlessly in his last five outings: 7.2 innings, four hits, one walk, six Ks. His ERA over that span is (gulp) 0.00. For the season, which includes one start and 13 relief appearances, he has struck out 43 and walked just three in 48.2 innings.

The other Mississippi Braves who were selected to the All-Star Game were outfielders Cristian Pache and Drew Waters and pitchers Ian Anderson, Tucker Davidson and Kyle Muller.