Rangers prospect Walker plays baseball with style all his own

March 10th, 2022
(Andy Nietupski/ TTL Sports Media)

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Walker, Texas Ranger.

Not the iconic Chuck Norris western television series, but Steele Walker, the club’s 20th-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, who has a last name that was seemingly meant to exist in a Texas Rangers uniform.

Though he was selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2018 Draft, Walker was the prospect the Rangers got in return in the Nomar Mazara trade on Dec. 10, 2019. And the Prosper, Texas, native has the name to fit right in as well as the personality to hold up with the name.

“What’s funny is that my brother’s names are Trevor and Sam,” Walker said. “My parents aren’t risky like that, but then they came up with Steele. It was meant to be though. I’m very comfortable being different and very uncomfortable being the same, right? It's weird, but I can’t help it. I’ve always been that way. It's good to be yourself and the name kind of fits like what I'm comfortable with.”

Walker said he wouldn’t describe his personality as “big,” but rather outside of the box or unique. You can see that just by looking at him, with multiple chains dangling around his neck, bright blonde highlights in his long hair and bright yellow sunglasses worn across the Rangers’ Surprise Recreation Complex this spring.

You can even feel it when talking to him. In interviews, Walker doesn’t hesitate to interject and throw a question to reporters. And his off-the-field style mirrors his personality.

That’s all part of the Steele Show, coaches and teammates around the Rangers' organization have said. Walker jokes that he didn’t come up with that and it’s just him being himself unapologetically at all times. And while he’s been compared to big leaguer Joc Pederson, Walker doesn’t think he’s quite as loud or flamboyant as Pederson.

“I'm not doing all that,” Walker joked. “I would like to think I'm a little more polished, but, hey, I'm a fan of Joc.”

“Everybody’s different, you know,” added fellow outfield prospect and roommate Bubba Thompson. “I'm different from [Walker] and he is definitely different from me, and we’re both different from all the other guys here. Everybody's got their own thing and something about them. It’s pretty cool, but yeah, I love Steele, man.”

The personality translates on the field, too.

Walker split last year between Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock during his first season in the Rangers’ organization. He hit a career-high 15 home runs, more often than not accompanied with a bat flip and a strut around the bases. Walker emphasized that “baseball is baseball” and he just likes to have fun on the field every day.

“I'm a little outside the box, which makes me think unorthodox,” Walker said. “I don't think I get too wrapped up in the game, which can express itself differently than most. That’s really what people notice about me. I just try to do my thing and see where that goes.”

Kenny Holmberg, who served as Round Rock manager in 2021, said Walker’s energy and eagerness to learn makes it a fun environment for everybody to be around. For his teammates, Walker’s personality has become part of their everyday lives in the Rangers' organization. Walker likes to have fun when playing the game.

“He’s got energy, he enjoys his teammates,” Holmberg said. “He comes to the ballpark and looks for an opportunity to get better and help the team. ... It’s always important to have [a person like that]. The cool thing about baseball is you get people from all over the world, all over the country with different styles and different languages, different environments. I think the cool part is getting everybody together to the Texas Ranger culture and environment, and moving forward as a group.”