Even the most avid New York Mets fan may not yet know the name of Josh Walker, but that's about to change. Walker got his first call up to the big leagues on May 16th in the same roster move that sent struggling starter David Peterson to AAA Syracuse, and if Friday night is any indication, he's ready for his close-up.
Drafted in 2017, Walker has spent his entire career in the Mets' minor league system. With Brooks Raley overburdened as the only left-handed reliever on the Mets' roster, the time was right for Walker to get his first shot in the majors. He made his first appearance in his first day on the team, but hadn't been seen again until Sunday against the Pirates, then again two days later against the Yankees.
The Mets appear ready to give Josh Walker a real shot at a prominent role
Making his third appearance in six days against St. Louis, Walker looked incredible, pitching two perfect innings while recording three swinging strikeouts. The Cardinals were already flummoxed by Tylor Megill's stellar bounceback performance, but Walker is the main reason Nolan Arenado and company may have trouble sleeping tonight.
Sporting a fastball that can get over 96 mph and a curve that he consistently keeps down in the zone, Walker's stuff is good enough that he's already gotten the baseball world's unofficial seal of approval: a tweet from Pitching Ninja.
The Mets have relied heavily on David Robertson, Adam Ottavino, and Brooks Raley, but beyond that the bullpen has been about as reliable as Angel Hernandez's strike zone. Side note, please don't sue me Angel Hernandez. Walker is capable of being not only an innings eater that can keep the other arms fresh, but a real difference maker for a staff that is too righty heavy.
Mets fans were treated to an Edwin Diaz sighting on Friday, and though the return of their electric closer isn't imminent, they can take comfort in the fact that there's one more reliable arm in the bullpen than there was a month ago. On behalf of Mets fans everywhere, it's nice to meet you, Mr. Walker.