As Jordan Walker sunk his head into his hands after hearing that he had made the Cardinals’ Opening Day roster, the 20-year-old was nearly speechless, realizing the hard work had paid off. 


Just three years removed from playing at Decatur (Georgia) High School, where he was a Gatorade Player of the Year, and getting selected 21st overall in the 2020 Draft, the expectations have always been high for the MLBbro.


“We were always very high on him coming into camp, and he did a lot of things to impress a lot of people,” president of baseball operations John Mozeliak told “He’s obviously a very mature player and has a great understanding of the game. He opened up a lot of eyes here in this camp, and he is someone who benefited from other people not being here [due to the World Baseball Classic].”

“It created a lot of at-bats and innings for him, and he made the most of it.”


Jordan Walker Make Jump To The Show: Has Lived Up To The Billing

The Cardinals’ No. 1 prospect, Walker has lived up to the hype, and at 20 years old and 312 days, Walker could potentially be the second youngest Cardinal to make his Major League debut on Opening Day, behind Steve Carlton in 1965, who was 20 years and 111 days old. He’ll also set his sights on becoming the first St. Louis MLBbro since Bake McBride (1974) and HBCU legend Vince Coleman (1981) to win the National League Rookie of the Year.



The young Black Knight is making the jump straight from Double-A Springfield to the big leagues after having success against the advanced competition in the Arizona Fall League. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder batted .277 with three homers, two doubles, and nine RBI over 20 games this fall. 


Although his primary position has been third base in the Minors, with Nolan Arenado at the hot corner for the Cards’ Walker began making the transition to the grass in 2022.

He played a total of 31 games in the outfield, tallying 10 assists, two double plays, and just one error over 61 total chances. He continued to excel in spring training, taking all of his reps in the outfield. Walker showed off another tool in his utility belt in the AFL, unleashing a 99.5 mph — harder than any throw by a Cardinals outfielder in the Statcast era — missile to the plate from left field that nearly added to his assist highlight reel.


Walker’s prosperous start to fall camp saw him leading the Grapefruit League in batting average (.452), slugging (.839), OPS (1.291), total bases (26), and hits (14), and he was tied for first in extra-base hits (six) by March 10. But his remarkable numbers weren’t the deciding factor on whether or not he’d be staying in the Majors for Opening Day. 



“We can talk about tools all day, but those don’t play if you can’t handle some pressure,” manager Oliver Marmol told “This is not the degree of the pressure that he’ll experience at the big league level, but it’s still an example of the most [pressure] he’s had to [deal with] around the big league club. So, you’re just keeping an eye on that and seeing how he responds, and I feel like he did that well.”

Fresh out of high school, Walker didn’t get the same experience of a first-round draft pick as previous young stars because of the global pandemic. He and his family toured the Cardinals’ facilities this past January for the first time, but his father Derek described the scene as a “ghost town.” 

That scene changed as all eyes were on Walker this fall to see him succeed or bust. With poise, the youngster can let the world go quiet and handle his business.

“Before I told him, I asked him what his best tool was and what was the greatest thing he brings to the table,” Marmol said. “I was curious if he would say something along the lines of, ‘My bat’ or something like that, and he said, ‘I don’t think about things very long; good or bad, I just kind of move on to the next thing.’


“That affirmed why he’s ready,” Marmol said. “That’s the separator. To get to the big leagues, yes, you’ve got to be able to hit, but when things get tough and you face adversity and people start to question your ability, can you cancel out the noise and keep doing your job? I think he has that ability.”


It won’t be a ghost town today at Busch Stadium for the start of the season, but with as many as 15 friends, family members, and youth coaches in attendance, it’s only right that Walker makes some noise of his own.  

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