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Walker wins FSL Home Run Derby06/14/2014 8:27 PM ET
By Greg Zeck / Special to MiLB.com
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Adam Brett Walker's swing looked effortless. With each leg kick, it seemed like only a matter of time that the Twins' 13th-ranked prospect would be blasting another ball onto McKechnie Field's boardwalk -- or completely out of the park.
When all was said and done, Walker scored 36 points in the final round of the Florida State League's All-Star Home Run Derby to take the crown, besting Daytona Cubs right fielder Bijan Rademacher, who scored 23 points.
"I just tried to have a bunch of fun and hit a bunch of home runs," Walker said with a grin. "I came out on top and it was a great feeling."
The big performance in the final round, following a 35-point showing in the first, was nothing new from the Fort Myers Miracle right fielder. Walker routinely provided souvenirs to fans, entering the All-Star break with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in 64 games. That would seem to put him right about on pace to match his career-high 27 long balls last year with Class A Cedar Rapids.
"Hopefully, I can put this power into my game swing," Walker joked. "I feel like I can be a solid player and hit for power."
While it was special for Walker to put on a show for his South Division teammates, scouts and fans, it had extra meaning for his parents.
"We love enjoying each phase [of his career], didn't want to miss it because you never know if and when you'll ever make it back," Walker's father, also named Adam, said. "It was worth the drive."
In fact, the elder Walker and his wife, Glynis, haven't missed much of their son's young career. Residents of Milwaukee, the couple regularly made trips to see him play in Cedar Rapids and were not about to sacrifice the chance to see him play Saturday.
But as great as it is to be able to watch Walker on the field and advance through the Minor Leagues, it means more to the parents to see him grow at and away from the ballpark.
"His main concern is doing whatever the coaches want him to do, taking it in, and he's always learning something different," Adam Walker said of his son. "He's always been a humble kid and knows it's always about giving back. He's enjoying that process of all the different things involved in playing baseball, from being a good citizen to player and just showing appreciation."
And it doesn't take long to see the foundation that both parents provided. For one, Glynis was a national champion high jumper and volleyball player at Carthage College and Adam Walker played one season in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings.
Treating others right -- like when Walker signed every autograph requested of him after the Derby -- is a product of the environment in which he grew up and continues to be a part of.
"We always wanted to instill that in him -- midwestern values," Glynis Walker said. "And the Minnesota Twins are a great organization that really embrace those midwestern values. We're so glad he can be a part of them and hopefully can continue to be for a very long time."