Aces' Walker hits fourth homer on four-RBI day

D-backs' No. 30 prospect also strokes double, scores pair of runs

Christian Walker has amassed 79 long balls over 544 Minor League games since turning pro in 2012. (David Calvert/Reno Aces)

By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com | April 16, 2017 7:07 PM ET

Christian Walker was a virtual vagabond leading up to the season, belonging to four organizations from the end of February to the end of March. But 11 games into the Pacific Coast League campaign, it's clear the 26-year-old first baseman feels right at home.

"Obviously, it's been a crazy spring. I bounced around quite a bit," he said, "and it's a testament to this team and the guys in the clubhouse that I've only been here a couple of weeks and I feel like I've been playing with them my whole life."

Video: Christian Walker goes yard

Arizona's No. 30 prospect homered and doubled Sunday, collecting four RBIs and two runs scored to fuel Triple-A Reno to an 11-6 romp over visiting El Paso.

Designated for assignment on Feb. 21 by the Orioles -- the organization that picked him in the fourth round of the 2012 Draft, Walker was claimed off waivers by the Braves on Feb. 25, the Reds on March 6 and finally the D-backs on March 28. So far, so good. The South Carolina product is hitting .348/.392/.696 with four homers -- putting him in a four-way tie for second on the circuit, and with 32 total bases, is only one behind league leader Ian Happ of Iowa.


 

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"I've been keeping it simple, trusting in my strength," Walker said. "It's good to know, here in Reno where the ball flies a little bit, if I stick with my game plan and put good wood on the ball, I'm going to get some results I'm going to to be happy with. So far, that's the case, and I'm getting good pitches to hit."

On Saturday, he went hitless for just the second time this year, which spurred him to reboot his approach ahead of Sunday's action.

"Overall, I've been seeing the ball well, but I was 0-for-4 yesterday. I wanted to get back to basics, simplify," Walker said. "I got a couple of good pitches to hit, and I was glad that I executed well."

Video: Christian Walker doubles in a pair

His two-run jack came in the first inning. The Norristown, Pennsylvania native took Chihuahuas right-hander Walker Lockett over the wall in center field on the seventh pitch of the at-bat.

"I watched a little film before the game, and I saw he had lot of arm-side run, heavy sink. That's his game," he said. "I thought he'd be pounding me in, but he left one up over plate. Luckily, I was working off the fastball, and I got the bat to it.

"That's a confidence booster for myself. I always try to drive in runs for the team, and it helps to get an early start."

Walker came to the dish with two on and two outs and the game tied, 5-5, in the sixth, and the right-handed hitter lined Carter Capps' sixth offering into left.

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"I wasn't necessarily swinging for the long ball there or to try to do too much with it," he said. "I tried early in the count, and I fouled a couple back. He threw me a nice slider that I took for a strike, then he threw one that I got the big part of the bat on. I was thinking double out of the box. It got to the wall and kept to the corner enough that I was able to pull into second."

Walker last collected four RBIs during a two-homer performance for Triple-A Norfolk in his final game in the International League on Sept. 5.

Reymond Fuentes and Oswaldo Arcia both contributed three hits and two runs scored for the Aces, with Fuentes tripling and Arcia earning an RBI.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @JoshJacksonMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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