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  • Why Haven’t the Twins Called Up Matt Wallner?


    Cody Christie

    Minnesota's offense hasn't exactly been clicking on all cylinders in recent weeks, while one of the organization's top prospects is hitting well at Triple-A. So, why haven't the Twins called up Matt Wallner?

     

    Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints

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    It's no secret that Minnesota has struggled in recent months with mounting injuries and replacement-level players trying to keep the Twins in the AL Central race. August was one of Minnesota's worst offensive months of the season, with a .385 SLG and a .701 OPS. Things haven't improved since the calendar turned to September, with the team hitting .251/.307/.377 (.684) entering play this weekend. 

    Many of the team's offensive struggles are tied to the players the Twins have been forced to use in September. The team assumed Trevor Larnach would be back in the line-up, but his recovery has taken longer than expected. Minnesota's current corner outfield options include Max Kepler, Nick Gordon, Gilberto Celestino, Jake Cave, and Kyle Garlick. All of those players can succeed if used in favorable match-ups, but one of the team's best offensive options has been destroying the ball at Triple-A. 

    In his age-24 season, Matt Wallner started the year at Double-A, where he destroyed the ball over his first 78 games. He hit .299/.436/.597 (1.033) while being slightly younger than the average age of the competition in the Texas League. At midseason, he was elected to the Futures Game, and he showcased his power with a home run during the game. Many national outlets started to notice, and he rose on prospect rankings. On their midseason list, MLB Pipeline named Wallner the fifth best prospect in the Twins organization. 

    Shortly after the Futures Game, Minnesota promoted Wallner to Triple-A, and there were a few struggles with the transition. In his first ten games, he went 4-for-38 (.105 BA) with no extra-base hits and 16 strikeouts. From there, he started to find his swing. In 39 games from August 2-September 15, he hit .289/.414/.564 (.978) with 17 doubles, three triples, and six home runs. Wallner was also able to record the first cycle in Saints' history. 

    As a left-handed hitter, the Twins may not have a perfect spot for Wallner to slide into the line-up and get regular playing time. Many of the team's other outfield options are left-handed, but Wallner has found success against righties and lefties this season. During 2022, Wallner has posted a .949 OPS against right-handed pitchers and a .979 OPS against left-handed hurlers. He's also done this while facing older pitchers in nearly 72% of his plate appearances. His bat seems ready for the big-league level, but the team isn't calling him up.

    Some might argue that the Twins are playing a service time game with Wallner, but the team is in contention, and his bat can help. As a college draftee, Minnesota will have team control over Wallner for the prime of his career, so service time shouldn't be an issue. The team also has players on the bench, like Caleb Hamilton and Billy Hamilton, that aren't getting regular playing time. Wallner can help the Twins, and he should already be on the roster.

    Do you think the Twins will call up Wallner? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

     

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    46 minutes ago, rv78 said:

    No, they are committed to playing scrubs so when they miss the playoffs they can use the injury issue as an excuse to why they didn't make it. The mistakes by the FO and Manager need to be covered up and over-shadowed so they aren't held accountable.

    Sooo.... would this be an accurate sketch artist's rendition of your recollection of the events of the 2022 season?

    ;) 

    image.png.34a16ebd3dc26ba2bb91608b8fd2d80d.png

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    I don't see the same struggles. I just see some rough luck when Wallner started off in AAA. He was still taking walks and his K rate didn't skyrocket or something. We're talking about Wallners first 10 games just being rough on the balls finding openings.

    As the plate appearances have piled up, Wallner has shown off his arm, his surprising (and poorly documented) speed and his power.

    Why haven't the Twins called him up? They wanted to manipulate his options. Same as Varland.

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    1 minute ago, Doctor Gast said:

    I agree with RPR,  although Wallner will certainly see his day at the MLB level, now isn't the time. Miranda had some difficulty adjusting to MLB, IMO more than likely Wallner will too, couple with his more be to desired glove, I don't see him being called up while we are fighting for our lives. 

    Right. I'd rather have Gilberto Celestino and Billy Hamilton taking Matt Wallner's at bats.

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    37 minutes ago, RpR said:

    B. Hamilton is a VERY good outfielder and the last time he held a bat, came very close to a dinger.

    I was at the game. Billy Hamilton is a AAA player. Hamilton is a total and complete utter black hole at the plate. One of the worst hitters in the history of MLB.

    I'd rather have Matt Wallner in the lineup playing shortstop than Billy Hamilton in the lineup playing center field.

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    I want people to take notice of how hard Matt Wallner hits baseballs.

    That triple he got in the highlight package included above? Do you know how hard you have to hit a ball at that angle to split outfielders all the way to the wall? Then the double in the next highlight?

    I've watched him it balls like that all season, and consistently. I was at the Saints game yesterday, and he tanked one out of the stadium foul just like that too.

    I would love to see his exit velocity readings this year because I bet there are a bunch of them over 110 MPH. His HR in the futures game was 116 MPH. He does that a lot.

    Edited by Steve Lein
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    Cool if Wallner is indeed coming up. I don't get the service time manipulation argument though. I think that even if came up now and stayed for the season he wouldn't get credit for a season of service time. the rule is you have to have 172 days in a year to get a year of service time. I think right now is a free shot but please correct me if I'm wrong 

    We can disagree with how the organization ranks players, but let's not look for conspiracies that don't exist. 

     

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    Gordon is playing well but currently needed at 2B

    Kepler (Injured or not injured) hasn't performed at an acceptable level this year and did not perform at an acceptable level last year

    Jake Cave did not perform at an acceptable level last year and has not been performing at an acceptable level this month. 

    Celestino is not performing at an acceptable level this year

    Garlick is now on the 10 day and hasn't been allowed to Right Handed pitching in 4 years

    None of the options bolded above are performing strong enough to keep the team from trying someone else.  

    Matt Wallner should be that someone else.

    I have no idea if Wallner can step in and contribute but someone else needs to try and contribute because Kepler, Cave, Celestino and Garlick are clearly not. 

    This OF production problem has been going on too long at a very very very critical time. I think Wallner should have been up a couple of weeks ago.

    Today... With Garlick going on the 10 day. There is really no reason to not have Wallner in the lineup tonight... Unless he is injured or something.   

    If not Wallner... Someone Else Please!!! and that someone else will be Contreras who has been on a roll in St. Paul lately. 

    Go Get Em Mark... Stay Hot... We need you. Hope you go for 3 for 4 tonight. 

     

     

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    Wallner still has some holes in his swing but considering the guys who have filled the DH and RF positions, it is befuddling why the Twins haven't let Wallner get some starts while Buxton and Kepler heal. I'm not thinking that Wallner is entirely ready for MLB yet, however, how are the Twins getting help from the Hamiltons and Palacios much less Cave and Garlick. Atlanta and Cleveland have gone with some fresh faces when injuries opened a spot. The Twins should have followed suit.

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    I don’t blame them for wanting to see him adjust to AAA but as as of this week, I don’t see many valid excuses. And while I think he could certainly be a decent MLB player I’m not sure he’s one that you worry about breaking the bank and  service time so much.

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    45 minutes ago, tony&rodney said:

    Wallner still has some holes in his swing but considering the guys who have filled the DH and RF positions, it is befuddling why the Twins haven't let Wallner get some starts while Buxton and Kepler heal.

    22 errors in 3 Minor League years; the much loathed B. Hamilton has 10 errors in ten Major League years.

    Twins cannot afford to ply drop-catch-drop-catch-drop-catch....

    Jake Cave seems to be in a slump again but he is good with a glove and has a strong arm.

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    3 minutes ago, RpR said:

    22 errors in 3 Minor League years; the much loathed B. Hamilton has 10 errors in ten Major League years.

    Twins cannot afford to ply drop-catch-drop-catch-drop-catch....

    DH?

    Actually, having watched Wallner from the beginning of the year I would suggest he has improved quite a bit in the outfield. Still for now - DH. Why not?

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    2 hours ago, LA VIkes Fan said:

    Cool if Wallner is indeed coming up. I don't get the service time manipulation argument though. I think that even if came up now and stayed for the season he wouldn't get credit for a season of service time. the rule is you have to have 172 days in a year to get a year of service time. I think right now is a free shot but please correct me if I'm wrong 

    We can disagree with how the organization ranks players, but let's not look for conspiracies that don't exist. 

     

    Not service time. Options and talking about why Wallner wasn't called up earlier rather than now. Varland and Wallner (if he was called up today) wouldn't be eligible for the playoffs no matter how well they play. Considering how badly the Twins needed an outfielder and a bat (they went out and got... Billy Hamilton), Wallner would have been a reasonable choice just like Varland was a reasonable choice considering how badly they needed a starter.

    Instead, the Twins waited until the month turned over so they wouldn't burn an option.

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    1 hour ago, RpR said:

    22 errors in 3 Minor League years; the much loathed B. Hamilton has 10 errors in ten Major League years.

    Twins cannot afford to ply drop-catch-drop-catch-drop-catch....

    Jake Cave seems to be in a slump again but he is good with a glove and has a strong arm.

    You watched all of them and know they were drops rather than throwing errors, right? He also has 2 errors in his last 68 games, both fielding. His only fielding errors this year. Every single other error this year (none in the past 68 games) has been a throwing error.

    Billy Hamilton, again, is not an MLB caliber player. He's barely good enough to play at AAA.

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    Wallner was put on the Twins taxi squad today.  As for should he be called up, why not we currently have about 3-5 guys on the twins not performing.  A couple of them namely both Hamilton's are lucky to be on a major league roster.  Given their limited play it's perplexing as to why they sit and don't contribute anyway why are they there.  May as well let Wallner and a couple of others replace a couple of Dr ead weights on the team.

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    I have no clue if the FO is trying to manipulate service time or not, but I seriously doubt it, and I think vague comments about such are uninformed and uncalled for as some conspiracy theory. IIRC, wasn't Varland was switched to a call up at the last moment vs just adding him to the roster. That allowed them to continue playing the roster game they've been playing most of the year to keep fresh arm on a shuttle. He's coming up again for the double header at Cleveland on pretty much less normal rest/rotation. They're just playing the game within a game to keep fresh arms. Witness Cotton being sent out for the 4th or 5th time.

    I can "get" the FO not rushing a young prospect like Wallner thinking he's not quite ready. The issue is, IMO, the FO being too stubborn with sticking with veterans too long "hoping" they respond. Cave is the perfect example. Now I'm not a Cave hater, and he's had a whopping 2 good games since the glass was broken and they promoted him, and hit a HR tonight against Cleveland. But a veteran hitting poorly, except for a couple games, isn't an answer when you MIGHT catch some lightening with Wallner up and getting a shot. Cave is hitting like .180-.190 and not performing...except for the previous mentioned...would Wallner do worse? Why not take a shot?! He might surprise and might hit a couple big doubles or HR's. The lineup needs help. Take a shot!

    And once again, in a similar arguement, why not Helman instead of the hurt Garlick or one of the Hamiltons? Helman can play all 3 OF spots, 2B/3B and even a little SS if you need him to. He can hit a little, jack some XB hits and HR and has speed and SB speed/ability. The only thing Hamilton and Hamilton offer are one can catch and one is more experienced. This is CRUNCH TIME to end the year. It's time to to just take desperation type shots for guys who MIGHT surprise and help vs "trusting" in more experienced players who can't hit and can't seem to give you what you need to make a run.

    Stubbornness can be a serious flaw.

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    3 hours ago, DocBauer said:

    I have no clue if the FO is trying to manipulate service time or not, but I seriously doubt it, and I think vague comments about such are uninformed and uncalled for as some conspiracy theory. IIRC, wasn't Varland was switched to a call up at the last moment vs just adding him to the roster. That allowed them to continue playing the roster game they've been playing most of the year to keep fresh arm on a shuttle. He's coming up again for the double header at Cleveland on pretty much less normal rest/rotation. They're just playing the game within a game to keep fresh arms. Witness Cotton being sent out for the 4th or 5th time.

    I can "get" the FO not rushing a young prospect like Wallner thinking he's not quite ready. The issue is, IMO, the FO being too stubborn with sticking with veterans too long "hoping" they respond. Cave is the perfect example. Now I'm not a Cave hater, and he's had a whopping 2 good games since the glass was broken and they promoted him, and hit a HR tonight against Cleveland. But a veteran hitting poorly, except for a couple games, isn't an answer when you MIGHT catch some lightening with Wallner up and getting a shot. Cave is hitting like .180-.190 and not performing...except for the previous mentioned...would Wallner do worse? Why not take a shot?! He might surprise and might hit a couple big doubles or HR's. The lineup needs help. Take a shot!

    And once again, in a similar arguement, why not Helman instead of the hurt Garlick or one of the Hamiltons? Helman can play all 3 OF spots, 2B/3B and even a little SS if you need him to. He can hit a little, jack some XB hits and HR and has speed and SB speed/ability. The only thing Hamilton and Hamilton offer are one can catch and one is more experienced. This is CRUNCH TIME to end the year. It's time to to just take desperation type shots for guys who MIGHT surprise and help vs "trusting" in more experienced players who can't hit and can't seem to give you what you need to make a run.

    Stubbornness can be a serious flaw.

    It's MLB options the front office is obviously trying to protect, not service time. The front office had no good reason not to call up Varland and Wallner before September 1st and make them eligible for the playoffs, only to call them up a few days or a couple weeks later once an option wouldn't be used. 

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    12 hours ago, DocBauer said:

    I have no clue if the FO is trying to manipulate service time or not, but I seriously doubt it, and I think vague comments about such are uninformed and uncalled for as some conspiracy theory. IIRC, wasn't Varland was switched to a call up at the last moment vs just adding him to the roster. That allowed them to continue playing the roster game they've been playing most of the year to keep fresh arm on a shuttle. He's coming up again for the double header at Cleveland on pretty much less normal rest/rotation. They're just playing the game within a game to keep fresh arms. Witness Cotton being sent out for the 4th or 5th time.

    I can "get" the FO not rushing a young prospect like Wallner thinking he's not quite ready. The issue is, IMO, the FO being too stubborn with sticking with veterans too long "hoping" they respond. Cave is the perfect example. Now I'm not a Cave hater, and he's had a whopping 2 good games since the glass was broken and they promoted him, and hit a HR tonight against Cleveland. But a veteran hitting poorly, except for a couple games, isn't an answer when you MIGHT catch some lightening with Wallner up and getting a shot. Cave is hitting like .180-.190 and not performing...except for the previous mentioned...would Wallner do worse? Why not take a shot?! He might surprise and might hit a couple big doubles or HR's. The lineup needs help. Take a shot!

    And once again, in a similar arguement, why not Helman instead of the hurt Garlick or one of the Hamiltons? Helman can play all 3 OF spots, 2B/3B and even a little SS if you need him to. He can hit a little, jack some XB hits and HR and has speed and SB speed/ability. The only thing Hamilton and Hamilton offer are one can catch and one is more experienced. This is CRUNCH TIME to end the year. It's time to to just take desperation type shots for guys who MIGHT surprise and help vs "trusting" in more experienced players who can't hit and can't seem to give you what you need to make a run.

    Stubbornness can be a serious flaw.

    Perfectly Posted

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    Yes he is up but only on the taxi squad.

    They need some pop in the lineup and at this point in the season with where they are at I say why not try something bold.

    As for the options question, he's 24.  Reminds me of the Garver situation where when they come up late you have them through the full prime years.

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    1 hour ago, Bigfork Twins Guy said:

    Yes he is up but only on the taxi squad.

    They need some pop in the lineup and at this point in the season with where they are at I say why not try something bold.

    Starting lineup today. Batting 7th.

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