The Cincinnati Reds have signed minor league free agent Walker Weickel according to the most recent transactions sheet over at Baseball America.. The right-handed pitcher had spent his career in the San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers farm system before signing with Cincinnati.
The Padres selected Walker Weickel with the 55th overall pick in 2012 out of Olympia High School. If that school sounds familiar, it’s the same school that Jesse Winker went to, and they were both drafted in the same season as supplemental 1st round picks that year. His journey through the minor leagues wasn’t as swift as it was for Winker.
Things were tough for the 6′ 6″ righty in the early stages of his career. He only threw 14.0 innings in his first year after being drafted – par for the course among high school pitchers. But the next two seasons he threw 110.2 and 113.2 innings, but also posted a 5.04 and a 5.94 ERA in those seasons. San Diego felt comfortable promoting him to Advanced-A in 2015 despite the struggles the year before. The Padres decided to place him in the bullpen, where he made seven appearances and one spot start, throwing just 12.1 innings before being injured. His season would come to an end in early May and he would undergo Tommy John surgery.
Walker Weickel would rehab for most of the next year and a half, returning to the mound in August of 2016 with the Padres Arizona League club before making four appearances with their rookie-level team in Tri-City in the Northwest League before the season ended. The next spring the Padres released him during spring training. Texas would sign him a few weeks later, but he wouldn’t join a club for them until June when he went all of the way back to Low-A with the Hickory Crawdads. The Rangers decided to give him another shot at starting and the then 23-year-old found success, posting a 3.01 ERA with 15 walks and 62 strikeouts.
In 2018 he moved up to Advanced-A with Texas and continued starting, but was inconsistent as he psoted a 4.92 ERA in 100.2 innings with 34 walks and 96 strikeouts. He got a late promotion to Double-A Frisco where he made one start and four relief appearances. He was a free agent following the season, but quickly re-signed with the Rangers organization. Last year he spent the whole season back in Double-A Frisco, this time as a reliever once again. He pitched in 42 games out of their bullpen and made a spot start last year with a 3.63 ERA in 72.0 innings. That came along with 29 walks and 62 strikeouts.
Walker Weickel Scouting Report
While he’s a reliever today, he’s got a starters background and still has a starters arsenal to work with. He has a fastball, slider, and change up – though the curve doesn’t show up as often as the other offerings. His fastball works in the 93-95 MPH range that will touch higher every so often. He will mix in a change up in the 85-87 MPH range, along with a slider in the low 80’s. None of the pitches really jump out at you. But none of them are poor pitches, either.