A chat with a D-backs Gold Glove winner

February 2nd, 2023

This story was excerpted from Steve Gilbert's D-backs Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click hereAnd subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

As the 2022 season came to a close, I sat down with a number of D-backs players to get their take on their year. What did they think went well? What would they like to improve on? What changes were they planning on making during the offseason?

For lack of a better description, we'll call them exit interviews. We’ve heard this offseason from Zac Gallen and Jake McCarthy.

This week we talk to , who hit into some tough luck early in the 2022 season. He wound up not only productive at the plate, but also captured the NL Gold Glove at first base.

MLB.com: What do you feel went well for you in 2022?

Walker: I feel like I've executed more consistently this year, even early when some of the numbers were down. But even through that stretch, I trusted my process. I felt like what I was doing on the work side of things was correct and was putting me in a good position to be successful. It was just a matter of giving it enough time to show up consistently. So I'm happy with myself in fighting that urge to tinker that I have. When you have one plan, one process, I think being able to trust it and execute it, everything becomes a little bit more clear.

MLB.com: Did you stick with the process defensively as well?

Walker: Yes. Defensively, I put in a lot of work, a lot of reps on a lot of days where you don't feel like you want to go out and take ground balls, but you know, I owe that to my team and I owe it to the game to be the best version of myself. So just looking back and just thinking about all the reps, all the work, just the length of the season, that makes me proud to look back and see what the season showed.

MLB.com: What do you plan on working on during the offseason?

Walker: For me, offensively, there's just some certain locations that I feel like the patterns of the way I move -- for example, low pitches. I hit low pitches really, really hard. I think that's some of my hardest exit velocities, but I tend to hit them on the ground a lot. And with me not being a speedy guy, those are outs. The shifts and the analytics are so good that if I hit a ball on the ground, it usually goes right to somebody. So just little things, fine-tuning things and being able to hit those balls back up in the air. And they don't have to be homers, but at least to get them through the infield and to be hits. Just little things like that, kind of just cherry-picking certain information and making sure I’m dialed in and progressing for next season.