WALKER GOURLEY
CORNER OUTFIELDER
Born: June 28, 1991
Height: 6′ 0″
Weight: 185
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 13th Round, 385th Overall, 2009
High School: Eastern Wayne (Goldsboro, NC)
Agent: N/A

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

Baseball America rated Gourley the 18th best prospect in North Carolina, in a very strong year for the state. He hit .314 and .407 his first two years. As a senior he hit .477 with four HRs in 88 ABs. He holds school career records for OBP (.504) and steals (57). He seems to have been a leadoff hitter, although he did hit eight HRs as a junior. BA believed he lacked the speed for the middle infield and should move to third or catcher. He had a commitment to East Carolina, but signed with the Pirates at the beginning of July.

2009
R:  220/310/260, 50 AB, 2 2B, 6 BB, 11 K, 3-4 SB

Got off to slow start in pro ball, getting just two hits in first 24 at-bats, then injured his ankle just as he was starting to hit. Came back in late August for three games. In last nine games, including six before the injury, hit .346.  He played two-thirds of his games in the field at third, the rest at short.

2010
A-:  168/221/224, 232 AB, 8 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 12 BB, 76 K, 7-13 SB

Appeared briefly as injury fill-in at Bradenton, then went to State College, where he was badly overmatched.  He fanned in a third of his ABs.  Surprisingly, the Pirates stuck with him rather than send him to GCL.  He played more or less regularly all year, mainly at second and short, with a little time at third.

2011
A-:  180/230/203, 128 AB, 3 2B, 7 BB, 31 K, 8-8 SB

Went back to State College and didn’t make much progress.  He cut his K rate to one every four ABs, but hit for almost no power.  He played only a little over half the time, split mainly between second and third.  Interestingly, he caught one game.

2012
A-:  253/298/339, 233 AB, 13 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 13 BB, 42 K, 9-14 SB

Gourley went back to State College.  He was probably expected to be a utility player, but with the Spikes losing outfielders repeatedly due to injury, he played regularly first in left, then in center.  For the first time, he made some progress at the plate, with his K rate dropping significantly, but he still didn’t hit well.

2013
A:  304/350/396, 444 AB, 19 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 26 BB, 86 K, 36-46 SB

Gourley went to West Virginia as a utility player, but had a very good year and earned regular playing time.  He divided his time between first and right, and played a small number of games each at second, third, left and center.  At the plate, his walk and K rates remained nearly identical to the previous year, but he hit the ball with much more authority.  He struggled against LHPs, with only a .638 OPS.  Gourley showed surprising speed on the bases.

A breakout season from a player who’s struggled for several years in the low minors doesn’t generally mean the player has suddenly become a legitimate prospect.  The Pirates saw this recently with Wes Freeman.  Gourley will be at Bradenton in 2014, playing wherever needed.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2014: Minor League Contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2009
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2015
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2013
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
June 10, 2009: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 13th round, 385th overall pick; signed on July 1.