30-Year-Old Pitcher – Free Agent
2018 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
There was no outlook written for Jordan Walden in 2018. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
Jordan Walden Contract Information:
Agreed to a minor league contract with the Braves in November of 2016 that includes an invite to spring training.
Walden (shoulder) had his minor league contract with the Braves voided on Thursday because his rehab wasn't progressing as expected, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports.
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Jordan Walden Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Jordan Walden Defensive Stats
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Jordan Walden: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Jordan Walden.
Walden last pitched in April of 2015, and he has been out with a strained lat ever since. There had been hopes that he would begin a rehab assignment at the end of the 2016 season, but those plans never came to fruition. He'll now aim to return in 2017, but his health is a mystery. At his best, Walden is a lock-down reliever capable of striking out nearly 30 percent of the batters he faces and chucking fastballs over 95 miles per hour, but he's over a year removed from such form. If he does in fact return in 2017, Walden would be a late-round gamble with a high ceiling, capable of scooping up holds and strikeouts. However, prospective buyers with risk-aversion tendencies will likely want to look elsewhere, as Walden's return has been riddled with setbacks. He'll look to resurrect his career in 2017, although it'll be tough to find work after his contract with Atlanta was voided due to health concerns.
Walden started 2015 about as well as can be expected, throwing 10.1 innings and posting a 0.87 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 12 strikeouts primarily out of the setup role, picking up eight holds in the process. Then he hit the disabled list with biceps inflammation, what was supposed to be a 1-2 month injury turned into the rest of the season as rotator cuff and labrum damage was also discovered. He's obviously going to be a huge health-risk heading into 2016, but he should be 100 percent to start camp. Assuming he returns to form he should slot in as the setup man once again for the Cardinals and be the first in line for saves should Trevor Rosenthal struggle or suffer an injury. If his health and stuff come back he should at the very least be a safe bet for 20 holds and a handful of saves in 2016 along with at strikeout per inning or more.
Walden's delivery is one of the wonders of the baseball world. As the right-hander goes to the plate, both of his feet briefly come off the mound, yet he is still somehow able to generate mid-90s velocity on his fastball. He was not, however, able find the strike zone consistently in 2014, as his walk rate nearly doubled, going from 2.7 BB/9 in 2013 to a career-high 4.9 BB/9, but he averaged close to 1.0 K/9 more than he did in 2013 (from 10.3 K/9 to 11.2) and held opposing right-handers to a .185/.292/.196 line. Traded along with Jason Heyward to St. Louis in November, Walden figures to factor into the Cards' late-inning mix, possibly even seeing a chance to close games if Trevor Rosenthal falters. Meanwhile, his departure from Atlanta leaves the likes of Jim Johnson, Jason Grilli and Shae Simmons to compete for the top right-handed setup role.
The hard-throwing right-hander missed time at various points in 2013 with injury and fell apart at the end of the year, but Walden proved to be a valuable addition to the Braves' already deep bullpen. He posted a 2.42 ERA over his first 47 appearances of the year, and while his strikeout rate dipped slightly, he still averaged more than 10.0 K/9 and trimmed his walk rate to a career-best 2.7 BB/9. Walden will continue to bridge the gap to Craig Kimbrel in 2014, setting up along with David Carpenter and Luis Avilan, and given his experience closing, he'd be an obvious candidate to take over ninth-inning duties should anything happen to Kimbrel.
Walden was the Angels' closer in 2011, but he spent the 2012 season in a middle-relief role, struggling at first before coming on strong at the end of the year. His 48:18 K:BB on the season is nothing to write home, but he finished the year with 14 strikeouts and no walks in his final 14 appearances. The improvement, along with Walden's age (25 years old), are cause for optimism despite the fact that his average fastball velocity declined from 97.5 mph in 2011 to 96.3 mph in 2012. That decline was likely due to a few nagging injuries, and if Walden can get back up over 97 mph and continue to develop his secondary pitches, he could emerge as closer-material again down the road. That path is much longer now, however, after he was traded to the Braves for Tommy Hanson during the offseason.
Walden rode his big fastball to 67 strikeouts and 32 saves last season, but he also tied for the league lead with 10 blown saves. Walden's shakiness in the ninth-inning role has the Angels looking at adding a veteran closer, but if they are unable to find one via free agency, Walden may hold onto the job. If that ends up being the case, he'll have the potential to put up even bigger save numbers for what is expected to be an improved Angels squad.
Formerly one of the Angels' best starting pitching prospects, Walden has been moved to the bullpen, likely for good. Injuries derailed Walden's 2010 campaign, and his plus slider and high-90s fastball that at times reaches triple-digits make him a perfect candidate for a back-of-the bullpen role at the big league level immediately. Walden will likely be eased into late-inning and high-pressure situations since he has just 15.1 major league innings under his belt, but his 23:7 K:BB ratio in those appearances could make him a potential closer candidate later in the season if Fernando Rodney struggles.
The team's No. 1 prospect a year ago, Walden was shut down at midseason with a forearm problem after pitching poorly for three months. It's not clear if he can hold up as a starter, and his high-90s fastball translates well to relief work. Walden could come through very quickly once he's healthy, and long term, may well be Brian Fuentes' successor.
Walden went a combined 9-8 with a 2.76 ERA between Low-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Rancho Cucamonga last season. However, his High-A ERA of 4.04 was much higher than his Low-A ERA of 2.18. Walden is a hard-throwing right-hander with a good slider and is one of the Angelsí most-promising young prospects. Being that he wonít turn 22 until next November; expect him to begin next season at Rancho Cucamonga.