Cardinals Outfielder Jordan Walker Discusses Demotion to the Minors

Jordan Walker

Getty Images Sr. Louis Cardinals Outfielder Jordan Walker

Outfielder Jordan Walker has been one of baseball’s top prospects since being drafted 21st overall in the 2020 MLB Draft. After taking a fast trek to the Majors, however, the St. Louis Cardinals‘ young star has had an up-and-down career.

Up-and-down, as in his shuttles back and forth between the big club and the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. After beginning the 2024 season as the Cards’ starting right fielder, he was demoted on April 24, after starting the year hitting .155 with no home runs and just RBI in 58 at-bats.

Walker, 21, has hit well in the Minors thus far, with a .300 average through his first 40 ABs. The 6’6″, 250-lb. slugger recently spoke with the Memphis Commercial Appeal about being sent back down to the farm for the second year in a row.

Back to the Minors

While Walker fully expected to have a breakthrough year for the Cardinals in 2024, it hasn’t turned out that way so far. Still, he insists that he’s keeping a positive attitude as he works through his problems at the plate.

“Honestly, for me, as always, I’m just trying to be the best person I can be,” Walker said. “I think reps is always good. And if that was the way to get it, in Memphis, then I’m all for it. I just want to get an opportunity to hit and get out of it. And I know I will. I’m always going to have faith in myself with hitting.”

He admitted that there’s a different level of stress playing at the Major League level.

“It’s definitely tough to relax up there,” he remarked. “Those games are high stress, fans yelling at you, everything like that. But I think one thing I did better last year that I didn’t do as much at the start of this year is just telling myself that, putting myself in a more relaxed mental state before the game.”

Walker said he had the benefit of being joined by one of his veteran teammates, 38-year-old Matt Carpenter, who was also in Memphis, albeit on a rehab assignment. The young outfielder says that Carpenter passed along some helpful advice to him as he continues to fine-tune his game.

“Just working me through it and letting me know that I’ve played baseball for a while,” Walker said. “And if you struggle for a month, it doesn’t make the type of player that you are. I think he really emphasized that and also emphasized just doing what works. Just don’t get away from it.”

Jordan Walker is Still One of the Cardinals’ Top Young Stars

Walker, had a solid rookie season in 2023, hitting .276 with 16 home runs, 51 RBI, and a .787 OPS. Entering 2024, the Cardinals expected him to take a big step forward. Still, his slide backward is considered temporary, and it’s widely believed he will be recalled at some point soon.

“There was a lot of discussion around it and thinking about what’s best for Jordan’s development; going down to a lower-stake environment and working on the things that he’s been working on the last several weeks made sense,” Cards manager Oliver Marmol said at the time of the demotion, according to‘s John Denton. “I had a good conversation with him this morning, and he felt good about going down there, getting in the work and getting back to producing. He’s got to be feeling good about where he’s at swing-wise and pitch-selection-wise in order to get back up here to help us.”

“It’s just about what he’s swinging at, compared to how he’s getting pitched and what the league is trying to do to him,” Marmol continued. “He has to be able to combat that. [Getting demoted] is not something you want and not something anybody wants for him, but the situation does call for it.”

“Getting at-bats for [Iván] Herrera and [Willson] Contreras at the DH and [Alec] Burleson, if [Walker] isn’t going to be in the lineup every day at his age, then the best thing for him is to go down and play every day and get to where he needs to get to.”