Walker, Buxton flash serious lumber

Outfielders combine for 11 RBIs as Kernels score 23 in win

By Jonathan Raymond / Special to MLB.com | May 12, 2013 7:19 PM ET

Most guys would look at a two-homer, seven-RBI game and probably be pretty happy at the end of the season if that proved to be their best game of the year.

Cedar Rapids' Adam Brett Walker had one game like that on April 26. Then he went and did it again Sunday, and he even added a little bit on top this time.

Walker led a parade of runs for the Kernels, going 4-for-6 with two homers, two doubles, seven RBIs and four runs scored as the Class A Kernels outslugged the Beloit Snappers, 23-16.

A third-round pick out of Jacksonville University last year by Minnesota, Walker didn't crack the Twins' Top 20 prospect list coming into the year, but the 21-year-old likely has some eyes on him now.

The Milwaukee native flashed power in the Rookie-level Appalachian League last year, hitting .250/.310/.496 with 14 homers in 58 games. But he's ratcheted things up a level or two in the Midwest League with a .321/.369/.664 line with nine homers and 40 RBIs -- both tops on the circuit.

"I feel like I've been driving the ball pretty well, and today was a little special for me," Walker said. "A little more than usual I feel like I've been driving it pretty well, getting some good swings."

With 23 runs on the board, Walker certainly wasn't alone. Top Twins prospect Byron Buxton, the second overall selection in last year's Draft, added to his own blazing start. The 19-year-old went 4-for-7, fell a home run short of the cycle, drove in four runs and scored four times.

Baseball's No. 19 overall prospect brought his line for the season to .339/.452/.585 with five homers and 24 RBIs. Buxton sits fifth in the league in average, third in OBP and second only to Walker in slugging percentage.

"I've just been going out, using my talents to the best of my abilities," Buxton said. "I'm loving it, just being able to come out and play ball every day. It's an awesome feeling."

There was no shortage of other contributors from the potent Kernels lineup, which with 215 runs scored, is well ahead of the rest of the league. The team is also tied for first in average (.275), first in OBP (.359) and first in slugging (.448).

No. 20 Minnesota prospect Niko Goodrum, a 2010 second-rounder, was 3-for-4 with a double, three RBIs and three runs scored. Jorge Polanco -- who sits behind Buxton at sixth in the league with a .338 average -- tripled and plated two runs.

No. 15 Twins prospect Travis Harrison, doubled, walked, scored twice and drove in one. Catcher Tyler Grimes provided a two-run homer in the first and reached safely four times.

"To score that many runs, it was fun, pretty crazy," said Walker. "We were having a good time. I think our team -- we're pretty relaxed, laid-back, like to have fun. It was a good time for everybody. I think the most runs I've ever been a part of.

"We're just having fun, and know that we have a game tomorrow and we have to come out next for that."

With 16 runs, Beloit also had some big performances. No. 8 A's prospect Renato Nunez was 3-for-5 with a home run, two doubles, four runs and three RBIs. No. 7 Daniel Robertson, tripled, singled and collected two RBIs. Right fielder John Wooten amassed a 4-for-5 day with a home run and five RBIs.

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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