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Article: Adam Walker: Power and Potential

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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 05:19 AM

You can view the page at http://www.twinsdail...r-and-Potential

#2 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 06:14 AM

I'd be curious what his splits are from when he was below the mendozaa line till now. His overall stats don't say much, but he got off to a terrible start and now has respectable numbers... in a pitchers league I might add.

It will be interesting to see if he starts next season in AA or if he returns to Fort Meyers. He seems like a good kid. I hope he succeeds.

Side note, and slightly off topic, but the 2012 class was considered pretty weak. With Buxton and Berrios likely top 100 candidates, and Walker probably falling into the 'honorable mention' category, I think the Twins came out pretty good.

#3 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 06:18 AM

Side note, and slightly off topic, but the 2012 class was considered pretty weak. With Buxton and Berrios likely top 100 candidates, and Walker probably falling into the 'honorable mention' category, I think the Twins came out pretty good.


Yeah... I think "pretty good" is an understatement. Any draft that nets Buxton and Berrios is outstanding, with or without Walker.

I'm still pretty skeptical about Walker given his OBP issues, age (22 in A+), and strikeout tendencies. That doesn't bode well as pitchers get smarter and better further up the MiLB ladder.

Either way, he's an interesting guy to keep an eye on, that's for sure.

#4 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 06:59 AM

I hope Walker makes it to the big leagues and is a success as a major leaguer. However, he already is a success in life. What a nice article about a fine young man, who happens to be a baseball player.

#5 chopper0080

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 08:38 AM

Yeah... I think "pretty good" is an understatement. Any draft that nets Buxton and Berrios is outstanding, with or without Walker.

I'm still pretty skeptical about Walker given his OBP issues, age (22 in A+), and strikeout tendencies. That doesn't bode well as pitchers get smarter and better further up the MiLB ladder.

Either way, he's an interesting guy to keep an eye on, that's for sure.


Yes, and I feel that his ability to drive in runs is what is going to make him a success over time. Two things are in demand right now in Major League baseball, one being power and two being the ability to capitalize on pitcher's mistakes. Walker is not going to be a .325 hitter, but there aren't as many of those as their used to be. What Walker is going to become is a hitter who, when the pitcher makes a mistake pitch, will be able to crush it and do significant damage. The ability to do that is what will make him stick in my opinion.

#6 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 08:42 AM

Yes, and I feel that his ability to drive in runs is what is going to make him a success over time. Two things are in demand right now in Major League baseball, one being power and two being the ability to capitalize on pitcher's mistakes. Walker is not going to be a .325 hitter, but there aren't as many of those as their used to be. What Walker is going to become is a hitter who, when the pitcher makes a mistake pitch, will be able to crush it and do significant damage. The ability to do that is what will make him stick in my opinion.


Three true outcome players are valuable. See Dunn, Adam.

My only question is whether Walker is a two true outcome player, which isn't nearly as valuable (and often turns the player into a bench bat).

#7 Willihammer

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 08:48 AM

I love hearing about guys with tape measure power. Seems like we don't get many of them (not that they grow on trees)

#8 twinsfan34

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 09:14 AM

Dunn gets a few too many BB's for my Walker comp.

My comp: Half-Caff Jose Abreu

http://www.baseball-...abreujo02.shtml

#9 Dantes929

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 09:27 AM

Roy Smalley made a very interesting comment about hitting in the clutch with a guy on 3rd and less than two outs. He said you should time your swing for a fastball over the plate or the outside corner and think hit up the middle or to the opposite field. That way you are ready for outside stuff and breaking balls and the only pitch you are susceptible to are good inside fastballs. If you are ready to pound on inside fastballs you are going to make outs on so many more pitches. Sure enough Dozier was a little slow on an inside fastball that he might normally have hit out of the park but still got the run in from 3rd which was the main goal. Good piece of hitting and interesting approach. I have seen way too many strikeouts the last few years from guys trying to pull it out of the park when a base hit, sac fly or even grounder to a middle infielder was all that was needed.

#10 Brandon

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 09:59 AM

Yeah... I think "pretty good" is an understatement. Any draft that nets Buxton and Berrios is outstanding, with or without Walker.

I'm still pretty skeptical about Walker given his OBP issues, age (22 in A+), and strikeout tendencies. That doesn't bode well as pitchers get smarter and better further up the MiLB ladder.

Either way, he's an interesting guy to keep an eye on, that's for sure.


There should also be some relievers from that draft too.

#11 drivlikejehu

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 10:27 AM

Sounds like a great guy. Unfortunately his plate discipline problems make him one of the more overrated prospects in the system.

#12 oldguy10

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 11:38 AM

Roy Smalley made a very interesting comment about hitting in the clutch with a guy on 3rd and less than two outs. He said you should time your swing for a fastball over the plate or the outside corner and think hit up the middle or to the opposite field. That way you are ready for outside stuff and breaking balls and the only pitch you are susceptible to are good inside fastballs. If you are ready to pound on inside fastballs you are going to make outs on so many more pitches. Sure enough Dozier was a little slow on an inside fastball that he might normally have hit out of the park but still got the run in from 3rd which was the main goal. Good piece of hitting and interesting approach. I have seen way too many strikeouts the last few years from guys trying to pull it out of the park when a base hit, sac fly or even grounder to a middle infielder was all that was needed.


Kudos to Smalley for his insight on a hitter's approach in this situation, I have thought that way since I was a kid and watching players try to go deep in a situation which only calls for a single or in some cases just a fly-out. Real quality hitters comport themselves in this manner in any era. To carry this further how many quality hitters are around now as compared to times past?

#13 Seth Stohs

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 12:29 PM

Not much bugs me more than not being able to get a runner in from 3rd base with less than two outs. (one thing that might is when people whine about the guy that came up with two outs and that same runner on third base not coming through when he would actually have to get a hit)

When the other team is giving you the run, take it!! If the infield is playing back, there is almost no excuse for not scoring that run. It's something that Twins teams the last couple of years have not done. A sacrifice fly works as well.

Yes, hits are better than outs, and productive outs (I think) are overrated, but getting the runs in that are easy to get in should just happen.

#14 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 12:35 PM

Sounds like a great guy. Unfortunately his plate discipline problems make him one of the more overrated prospects in the system.


Overrated in what sense? I doubt he'd be considered a top 10 pospect right now. In most systems, he is one.

#15 Beezer

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 12:55 PM

I agree with you Seth that the last couple years have been difficult to watch frequently because of the Twins inability to get those 3rd base runners across the plate. One former Twin who I always thought excelled in that area was Gary Gaetti. It seemed like he always had track power to get that sacrifice fly and get the run home. I don't know what his success race was or if that stat was even tracked but just from watching the games I always thought he was one of the best ever at it as a Twin. Hope Walker can continue to improve and make progress up the ladder. Making better contact is probably the area most likely to be his greatest impediment.

#16 lightfoot789

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 01:35 PM

Sounds like a great guy. Unfortunately his plate discipline problems make him one of the more overrated prospects in the system.


Great article Seth. Everyone knows I'm sold. Overrated how? Are we talking future "possible" issues that may affect production numbers down the line or current issues that still leave him 1st in production in the FSL. All I'm saying is that for a kid with such a poor OBP he still scores more than anyone on his team not named Polanco. He led his team in scoring last year and was second in the league in scoring - Meaning he must have gotten on base enough to be effective.

The real question as this story outlines is: How effective could this kid become (scary numbers) if he did improve his plate discipline? He's already putting up league leadingnumbers (consistently & yearly) with the poor OBP. His teams have made the playoffs every year (Appy Championship 2012 / Best Record in all of Minors in 2013 (post Buxton) / 1st Half Playoff Qualifier in FSL 2014).

I believe in the Potential with Seth. Keep in mind: If Walker were to ever get promoted to AA this summer - He would be the 2nd youngest player on the team next to Berrios! That's the reason for patience as it pertains to his potential (not promotions). The kid is still young people.

#17 drivlikejehu

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 01:51 PM

Great article Seth. Everyone knows I'm sold. Overrated how?


Overrated in that he has severe flaws in his approach/swing that make is highly unlikely he ever plays in the Majors.

If, at age 22, a player can't make consistent contact against FSL pitching, he's a huge, huge longshot to pan out at all. I'm not familiar with a single example.

He's still an OK prospect because of the raw power. There's a tiny chance something clicks and he turns into a solid MLB corner outfielder. But that's not the profile of a top prospect.

#18 Lakeside

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 02:31 PM

Overrated in that he has severe flaws in his approach/swing that make is highly unlikely he ever plays in the Majors.

If, at age 22, a player can't make consistent contact against FSL pitching, he's a huge, huge longshot to pan out at all. I'm not familiar with a single example.

He's still an OK prospect because of the raw power. There's a tiny chance something clicks and he turns into a solid MLB corner outfielder. But that's not the profile of a top prospect.


I believe in the "Potential" of Walker. He has a strikeout pct of 27% in an A league. . . that's pretty high. I also believe like one poster said, "He has the ability to crush mistakes". . . That's a real positive. He certainly is one to continue watching and give every chance. . True HR hitters are hard to find and can change the game in an instant.

My question, in changing the topic just a little, who has a better chance of being a regular MLB player. . Walker or Max Kepler?? I've never seen Walker in person but have seen Kepler. . . he has the swing to be a big HR hitter at some point. . Also, I think he could be placed at 1B or the OF. . .and he is over a year younger than Walker.

#19 spycake

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 02:38 PM

I'd be curious what his splits are from when he was below the mendozaa line till now. His overall stats don't say much, but he got off to a terrible start and now has respectable numbers... in a pitchers league I might add.


B-Ref doesn't have cumulative stats for each game in their minor league game logs, but you can see splits and sum any selection of rows here:
http://www.baseball-...e=bgl&year=2014

Best I can tell, he was last below .200 on April 25. Since then, he's got an OPS of .762, compared to his overall season OPS of .723. Although it's not all straight upward either: his June OPS was actually just as bad as his pre-Mendoza OPS, right around .600, with equally bad K/BB rates too.

His league OPS is only .686, compared to AL OPS of .716 this season. Assuming a neutral ballpark in his league, he'd have a SLG-heavy OPS+ of 105, or 111 post-Medoza.

#20 lightfoot789

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 03:10 PM

My question, in changing the topic just a little, who has a better chance of being a regular MLB player. . Walker or Max Kepler?? I've never seen Walker in person but have seen Kepler. . . he has the swing to be a big HR hitter at some point. . Also, I think he could be placed at 1B or the OF. . .and he is over a year younger than Walker.


Note: Walker was a 2nd team All American at 1B in college behind CJ Cron (plays with CA Angels now). Rated the 2nd best defensive 1B by Baseball America in 2011 (all while hitting .409).

To the age question - Who is older Trout or Harper? People want results! As long as your not old - what true difference does it make to your team if one prospect is 1 year younger or older? I repeat - Walker would be the second youngest player on Twins AA team if he were promoted. If I'm not mistaken, he was the second youngest overall college player drafted in 2012 (4 year schools).

Don't get me wrong - I looove Kepler - but believe in Walker's potential more. MWL and FSL managers must think enough of Walker to nominate him as an All Star starter each of the last 2 years as well, despite low BA and OBP.

#21 lightfoot789

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 03:26 PM

If, at age 22, a player can't make consistent contact against FSL pitching, he's a huge, huge longshot to pan out at all. I'm not familiar with a single example.


*Joey Votto hit .256 his year in FSL with 17 HR and 83 RBI.
Top player for Cincinatti Reds

*Matt Kemp hit .306 his year in FSL with 27 HR and 90 RBI.
Arguably one of the Top players in MLB before injuries

*Marcell Ozuna hit .266 his year in FSL with 24 HR and 95 RBI.
Now starts with Marlins after playing in FSL in 2012

*Javier Baez hit .274 his year in FSL with 17 HR and 57 RBI (half season)
Top 5 prospect in all of minor league baseball.

Kennys Vargas hit .267 las year in FSL with 19 HR and 93 RBI
Now everyone is in love with him (rightfully so) because he was hitting over .300 this year and producing at the same pace.

Low batting averages do not neccesarily mean poor production, but it does mean poor contact. These guys are all successful because they produced results in their careers, not just average. If you are judging based on the success of a Matt Kemp then you are being unrealistic, because every prospect can't be considered amongst the best to play the game. Most are hoping to be solid (good) MLB players.

#22 Lakeside

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 04:10 PM

Note: Walker was a 2nd team All American at 1B in college behind CJ Cron (plays with CA Angels now). Rated the 2nd best defensive 1B by Baseball America in 2011 (all while hitting .409).

To the age question - Who is older Trout or Harper? People want results! As long as your not old - what true difference does it make to your team if one prospect is 1 year younger or older? I repeat - Walker would be the second youngest player on Twins AA team if he were promoted. If I'm not mistaken, he was the second youngest overall college player drafted in 2012 (4 year schools).

Don't get me wrong - I looove Kepler - but believe in Walker's potential more. MWL and FSL managers must think enough of Walker to nominate him as an All Star starter each of the last 2 years as well, despite low BA and OBP.


I wasn't picking Kepler over Walker or vice-versa. . just asking the question. I agree that the difference in age is a non-issue. Making a MLB roster in this day and age is a marathon and not a sprint. . . I simply was wondering what the readers think of the question. . Walker vs. Kepler?

#23 Thrylos

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 05:09 PM

Three true outcome players are valuable. See Dunn, Adam.

My only question is whether Walker is a two true outcome player, which isn't nearly as valuable (and often turns the player into a bench bat).


See: Colabello, Christopher Adrian

As far as Walker is concerned, he is 22. Here is what some other Twins' position players either did or are doing at Fort Myers this and last season (with their ages in () :

Michael (23) : .322/.379/.432
DJ Hicks (23) : .270/.364/.405
Vargas (22) : .267/.344/.468
Rosario (21) : .329/.377/.527
Harrison (21) : .279/.349/.378
Sano (20) : .330/.424/.655
Polanco (20): .291/.362/.415

HR, contact and pitch selectivity, the above list is a good reason why Walker should not be considered a Twins' top 10-15 prospect... If he get his contact rate up higher a bit and his OBP up higher, that might be a different story. But sub .300 OBP is not a good sign.
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#24 Thrylos

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 05:13 PM

*Joey Votto hit .256 his year in FSL with 17 HR and 83 RBI.
Top player for Cincinatti Reds

*Matt Kemp hit .306 his year in FSL with 27 HR and 90 RBI.
Arguably one of the Top players in MLB before injuries

*Marcell Ozuna hit .266 his year in FSL with 24 HR and 95 RBI.
Now starts with Marlins after playing in FSL in 2012

*Javier Baez hit .274 his year in FSL with 17 HR and 57 RBI (half season)
Top 5 prospect in all of minor league baseball.

Kennys Vargas hit .267 las year in FSL with 19 HR and 93 RBI
Now everyone is in love with him (rightfully so) because he was hitting over .300 this year and producing at the same pace.

Low batting averages do not neccesarily mean poor production, but it does mean poor contact. These guys are all successful because they produced results in their careers, not just average. If you are judging based on the success of a Matt Kemp then you are being unrealistic, because every prospect can't be considered amongst the best to play the game. Most are hoping to be solid (good) MLB players.


Could you show those gentlemen's OBPs, please? That's the issue with Walker mostly, not the BA. He has a hard time with breaking pitches and he has been swinging at bad pitches.

EDIT. Here they are, along with their age in the FSL, to tell a complete story:

Votto .330 OBP age 21
Kemp .349 OBP age 20
Ozuna .328 OBP age 21
Baez .338 OBP age 20
Vargas .344 OBP age 22

Walker .298 OBP age 22.

HUGE difference, in both OBP and age

Edited by Thrylos, 10 July 2014 - 05:18 PM.

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#25 drivlikejehu

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 05:18 PM

*Joey Votto hit .256 his year in FSL with 17 HR and 83 RBI.
Top player for Cincinatti Reds

*Matt Kemp hit .306 his year in FSL with 27 HR and 90 RBI.
Arguably one of the Top players in MLB before injuries

*Marcell Ozuna hit .266 his year in FSL with 24 HR and 95 RBI.
Now starts with Marlins after playing in FSL in 2012

*Javier Baez hit .274 his year in FSL with 17 HR and 57 RBI (half season)
Top 5 prospect in all of minor league baseball.

Kennys Vargas hit .267 las year in FSL with 19 HR and 93 RBI
Now everyone is in love with him (rightfully so) because he was hitting over .300 this year and producing at the same pace.


Baez and Vargas are prospects, not Major Leaguers. Kemp, Votto, and Ozuna were all significantly younger and better than Walker in the FSL.

Here's another way of looking at it- here are the top 3 HR hitters in the FSL from 2004-2010

2004: Brandon Sing, Delwyn Young, Raul Tablado
2005: Andrew Wilson, Matt Kemp, Garth McKinney
2006: Jay Garthwaite, Brock Peterson, Jesus Flores
2007: Jacob Butler, Sergio Pedroza, Allen Craig
2008: Ryan Strieby, Brian Dopirak, Jeramy Laster
2009: Brahaim Maldonado, Caleb Gindl, Chris Parmelee tied with Kirk Nieuwenhuis
2010: Mike McDade, Melky Mesa, Quincy Latimore

Of those 21 players, 2 turned into MLB regulars, so about 10%. Both- Kemp and Craig - hit over .300. All the others "produced" in the FSL and yet did nothing in the Majors.

#26 lightfoot789

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 07:04 PM

My question is if he continues to do what he is doing at every level like he has shown to consistently do [Rookie - A & A+]:
1) Lead his league in HRs and either 1st or amongst the top in RBI
2) Score more than everyone on his team (Runs) and amongst the leaders of the league
3) Yet have a low OBP and moderate BA

Why do his teammates (1 thru 9) with higher the OBP have fewer RBI and Runs scored when they are in fact on base more?

How has that resulted in more wins for the MLB Twins who sit at 13th in the MLB in OBP category?

To your point:
Maldanado .348 OBP;
Gindl .363 OBP;
Parmelee .359OBP;
Nieuwenhuis .357 OBP;
McDade .315 OBP;
Mesa .338 OBP;
Latimore .323 OBP;

These individuals all had a decent OBP in addition to having great power and should have been high prospects for their respective organizations. Sometimes it's about feeling and not the projectables. Nobody said he was Kemp or Craig (not many are). We'll leave that for the Sano's and Buxtons. I'll pray for a Khris Davis (rookie leftfielder for Brewers) - .305 OBP / .252 BA with his 14 HR and 47 RBI at the All Star Break. Brewers have 52 wins and have the best record in NL.

#27 drivlikejehu

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 07:56 PM

These individuals all had a decent OBP in addition to having great pow.


Well that's the whole point. With just a couple exceptions, they weren't. Minor league counting numbers don't matter. Every years tons of minor leaguers put up big numbers but aren't good prospects. That's just how it is. Sorry.

Edited by drivlikejehu, 10 July 2014 - 08:02 PM.


#28 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 08:16 PM

I think that you can find plenty of examples of folks who fared well in the FSL and failed in the big leagues. You can find plenty for those who didn't fare well in the FSL and succeeded in the big leagues too.

Let's tone down the personal sniping and remember that these are our opinions. NOT FACT.

#29 Otwins

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 10:49 PM

The Sam Deduno of the hitters. Very divided opinions. I'm rooting for him. It is not only chicks that dig the long ball. Walker fits in well with today's hitters. Lower batting average with power. Seems like a good fit for Toronto.

#30 lightfoot789

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 07:05 AM

I think that you can find plenty of examples of folks who fared well in the FSL and failed in the big leagues. You can find plenty for those who didn't fare well in the FSL and succeeded in the big leagues too.

Let's tone down the personal sniping and remember that these are our opinions. NOT FACT.


I believe that numbers can be a prediction of what to expect in the future as well. I believe that isolated success is also not a good reason to bet the farm. Lastly I do believe that consistency (bad and good) is worth taking notice too. Walker's negatives definitely leave you wondering (agreed). For me his Appalachian league - Midwest league - Florida State League consistent success leaves me believing. Great article. Being a prospect is all about potential - let's enjoy the ride.