Twins' Wallner shows pop in Fall League

October 16th, 2021

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Matt Wallner was drafted as a slugger and has proved to be one early in his professional career.

After hitting 15 homers over 68 regular season games this year, Wallner went deep for the first time in the Arizona Fall League on Saturday, helping lift Scottsdale to an 8-2 win over Peoria.

The Twins’ No. 14 prospect missed roughly two months with a sprained right wrist this season, which limited him to 68 games -- 66 with High-A Cedar Rapids.

Wallner’s power was on display through the season as he slugged .508; however, big power sometimes comes with a large number of strikeouts. Swing-and-miss concerns have always been a part of Wallner’s scouting report, and he struck out in 33 percent of his at-bats this past season.

In addition to the two-run blast, the Southern Mississippi product struck out twice Saturday but also added a run-scoring single, finishing 2-for-5 with three RBIs.

While making up for lost time and getting more at-bats under his belt, Wallner wants to work on his approach while in Arizona, meaning the strikeouts will be something to monitor as he looks to make more contact and tap into his power even more.

Wallner’s opposite-field homer got the Scottsdale scoring started, but once the floodgates were opened, the whole lineup contributed. The Scorpions scored in five of the game’s final six innings and eight of nine starters had at least one hit.

Richard Palacios (Indians No. 14) padded Scottsdale’s lead with an RBI double in the fifth, and fellow Cleveland prospect Jose Tena (No. 12) tacked on a run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Triston Casas (Red Sox No. 2) and Heriberto Hernandez (Rays No. 11) each drove in a run in the eighth, and Palacios -- who finished 2-for-5 -- added on his second RBI of the game with a ninth-inning single.