Cardinals' Jordan Walker demoted to minors after slow start

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Jordan Walker has been demoted to the minor leagues after a slow start to the season.

The Cardinals announced before Wednesday afternoon's victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks that Walker and left-handed pitcher Zack Thompson were optioned to Triple-A Memphis. Infielder Jose Fermin and left-hander John King were recalled from Memphis in corresponding moves.

Walker, 21, is batting .155 with no home runs, 4 RBIs and a .497 OPS in 20 games this season, his second with the Cardinals. The former top prospect had been mired in a 3-for-27 slump over his past 11 games.

The 6-foot-6 Walker is one of several players struggling offensively for the Cardinals (10-14), who entered Wednesday with just 16 homers as a team -- second worst in the majors behind only the Chicago White Sox -- and rank in the bottom five in MLB in most major categories, including batting average (.218), runs (82), slugging percentage (.336) and OPS (.637).

Walker entered 2023 as a consensus top-five overall prospect and delivered a solid rookie season, batting .276 with 16 homers, 51 RBIs and a .787 OPS.