LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The Braves claimed first baseman/left fielder Christian Walker off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, adding a power hitter who likely will serve as insurance in case of an injury.
Walker, who’ll turn 26 in March, hit 18 home runs each of the past two seasons at Triple-A Norfolk, and had four hits, including one homer in 27 at-bats, during brief major league stints in 2014 and 2015.
He hit .264 with 49 extra-base hits, 64 RBIs and a .757 OPS in 131 games last season in Triple-A, making 90 starts in left field and four at first base — his other action came as designated hitter — after playing almost exclusively at first base in his previous four minor league seasons.
Walker was a fourth-round draft pick by the Orioles in 2012 out of the University of South Carolina. The right-handed hitter has a .276 average with 75 home runs, 299 RBIs and a .342 OBP and .791 OPS in 533 minor league games. He hit .288 with a career-best 26 homers in 2014 when he played 95 games in Double-A and 44 in Triple-A.