Twins' Walker mashes in Fall League performance
Club's No. 10 prospect goes 3-for-4, doubles, drives in three runs in Scottsdale victory
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Adam Brett Walker II is a strong man.
The Twins' No. 10 prospect hit his second home run of the week and third of the Fall League on Wednesday as Scottsdale defeated Glendale, 5-4, at Scottsdale Stadium. He finished the game 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and three RBIs.
Walker's multihit performance improved his AFL batting average and OPS to .355 and 1.136, respectively, and he now has eight RBIs in eight games for the Scorpions.
"I'm feeling pretty good," said Walker after the game. "I haven't been missing my pitches too much and getting in positive counts, and when I've gotten my pitch, I've been able to get the barrel on it."
Selected by Minnesota in the third round of the 2012 Draft out of Jacksonville University, Walker spent the entire 2015 season at Double-A Chattanooga, batting .239/.309/.498 in 133 games. The 24-year-old outfielder paced the Southern League with 31 home runs -- the third-highest total in the Minor Leagues -- 106 RBIs and 250 total bases.
"I did a better job as far as making sure I didn't miss my pitches," said Walker, reflecting on his 2014 campaign. "I had some ups and downs this year, but overall I feel like I got a little bit better. I was pretty happy with the way it ended up, but obviously there's room to improve and I want to keep improving."
Although Walker posted big power numbers this past season at Chattanooga , he also led all Minor League hitters with 195 strikeouts during the regular season, fanning in 34.8 percent of his plate appearances. Unsurprisingly, he's working on cutting down on some of those whiffs in the Fall League.
"I'm working on my plate discipline and trying to get pitches to hit up in the zone," he said. "Sometimes I have a tendency to chase stuff in the dirt, so I'm looking for more pitches up in the zone and making sure I don't miss them.
"I'm trying to stay short and not get too big," he added, "and making sure I'm getting the barrel to the ball and sticking to my approach."
The heart of the Desert Dogs' lineup added to the lead with two more runs in the top of third inning. Dodgers outfielder Jacob Scavuzzo got things started with a one-out double and then came around to score when Pirates No. 6 prospect Reese McGuire laced a triple to wall in the right-center field. Knapp followed with a line-drive single to center field to tally his second RBI of the game.
However, the Scorpions would bounce back in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring four runs on five hits to tie the game. Walker started the scoring with a two-run double into the left-field corner, and DH Stuart Turner, also a product of the Twins' farm system, followed with a run-scoring double of his own. Following a mound visit, Indians catcher Jeremy Lucas knotted the game at 4-4 with an RBI single into shallow right field.
Walker and his dangerous bat struck again in the bottom of the sixth inning with a tape-measure solo home run. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound outfielder teed off on a 2-0 fastball from Scott Barlow, sending it well over the burm in the left field. The monstrous blast turned out to be the deciding hit for Scottsdale, as right-hander Jake Reed nailed down the save in the ninth inning to secure the win.
Glendale starter Jharel Cotton, the Dodgers' No. 15 prospect, pitched well in his third Fall League start, allowing two hits and a walk in three scoreless innings. He's now logged six straight scoreless frames between his last two outings. Meanwhile, McGuire finished 1-for-3 with an RBI and his first triple of the Fall League, and Knapp tallied three RBIs as part of a 1-for-1 performance that included three walks.
Giants No. 13 prospect Mac Williamson went 2-for-3 with a run scored and is now batting .406 through eight games for Scottsdale.