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Walker ranks among top second basemen

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Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011

It didn't take the Pirates' Neil Walker long to be rated as one of the best second basemen in baseball.

Walker will be featured on MLB Network's show "Top 10 Right Now: Second Basemen," which will air at 8 p.m. Thursday. Walker, 25, is the youngest second baseman on the top-10 list.

"It's very flattering," Walker said. "But I can't say that I'm either surprised or not surprised. I've always believed in my ability to play at whatever position they put me at."

Drafted as a catcher in 2004, Walker was moved to third base during spring training in 2007. Last season, Walker was called up to the majors in May and soon became the everyday starter at second base, despite playing second for just a handful of games in the minors.

Last season, Walker hit .296 with an .811 OPS and a .933 fielding percentage.

"With the help of a lot of people, I turned into a halfway decent second baseman," Walker said. "But I know there's still a lot of work to be done."

MLB Network's panel of analysts ranks Walker in the bottom half of its top 10, along with Brian Roberts, Rickie Weeks, Kelly Johnson and Ian Kinsler. The ranking criteria included offense, defense, upside and leadership.

Last month, MLB Network named Andrew McCutchen the No. 1 center fielder in the game.

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