With September call ups just over a week away, the Arizona Diamondbacks have a power-hitting first baseman breaking records in Reno.
The Arizona Diamondbacks might have a struggling offense, but the team’s Triple-A affiliate Reno Aces do not. This is partly due to first baseman Christian Walker.
Before Tuesday’s night game, the 26-year-old has hit 32 homeruns – a Reno Aces single-season record.
Walker, an alumni of the University of South Carolina, was a fourth round draft pick in 2012 by the Baltimore Orioles. He was also drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 49th round of the 2009 draft.
The right-handed batter had some productive seasons in Baltimore’s farm system before debuting in 2014 and playing in seven major-league games in 2015. But, his productivity with the Aces includes career-highs in runs, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI, stolen bases and batting average.
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After 2016, Walker was passed around on waivers from Baltimore to Atlanta to Cincinnati before landing with the Diamondbacks.
However, Walker did not make the Diamondbacks’ 40-man roster after Spring Training. He has until Aug. 31 to do so in order to be part of the expanded roster in September.
But, he’s making a compelling argument for a spot.
In his full season with the Aces, Walker has 32 doubles and 8 triples to round out a .311 batting average for the season. Walker also leads the team with 56 walks.
Walker’s 111 RBI is only nine short to tie the Aces record (120) and 10 short to break it.
He has already cracked the top 10 for the Aces single-season leaders board for RBI, runs, triples, homeruns, on base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS.
The Aces have nine games left before September call ups and 13 before the postseason.
If some are questioning why the Diamondbacks haven’t brought this power-hitter to big leagues yet, revisit his position. Walker, while capable of playing left field and third base, is a first baseman and Paul Goldschmidt isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
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Unfortunately for Walker, all three of his positions are locked in by Goldschmidt, David Peralta and Jake Lamb. If he makes an appearance in September, it will be to provide rest to one of the three.