Walker is Minors' first to century mark

Twins prospect reaches 100 RBIs with 26th homer of season

Adam Brett Walker has an .881 OPS in 110 games. (Dennis Hubbard/Sports N More Photography)

By Ashley Marshall / Special to MiLB.com | August 11, 2013 5:39 PM

Adam Brett Walker isn't too concerned with being recognized in public or collecting that big paycheck. He has only one goal in mind, and even though that's still several years away, he knows everything else will follow from that.

That one task, the sole focus of his attention? Reaching the Major Leagues.

Walker hit his Midwest League-leading 26th homer, tripled, plated three runs, walked and scored twice Sunday in Class A Cedar Rapids' 8-4 victory over Kane County.

In the process, he became the first Minor Leaguer this season to reach the 100-RBI plateau, beating Lancaster's Andrew Aplin (98), Indianapolis' Andrew Lambo (97) and Corpus Christi's Preston Tucker (97).

Only American League MVP and Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera (110) and Orioles slugger Chris Davis (109) have more in affiliated ball.

"I've had a pretty good year and the organization has been happy with me, and that's good to know," Walker said. "I'm trying to play the game hard, play it the right way. If people recognize my name, that's awesome, but it won't change how I approach the game.

"A couple years from now, I hope to be playing in Minnesota, that's the main goal. When I look around the Minor Leagues, the team is looking positive, but I just want to keep working on my game because I feel like I can have this same role in Minnesota, driving in runs. I feel like I have the ability to change a ballgame with one swing, and I have plans to do that in Minnesota."

The 21-year-old right fielder drew a free pass to load the bases in the first inning and tripled to right with two outs in the third. Then, with two outs in the fifth, he slugged a three-run homer to collect his 100th, 101st and 102nd RBIs.

"The first pitch, I got a little anxious and had a check swing," Walker said. "I told myself to relax and that the pitcher had to come to me. I was trying to get a good pitch to hit up in the zone, something to drive. I got a fastball over the plate and tried to get the barrel on it and drive it out to center field."

Selected in the third round of last year's Draft out of Jacksonville University, Walker said he was aware of the looming milestone, although he didn't know he was the first to get there.

"Going into the game, I knew I was at 99, but I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself, especially when guys were in scoring position" said Walker, who's tied for third in the Minors with 60 extra-base hits, four behind South Bend's Brandon Drury. "It's pretty cool, it's definitely a nice accomplishment, but I still have to keep working.

"A lot of is it to do with my teammates. You don't get to 100 RBIs by yourself. We've been a solid offensive team and the guys in front of me have been getting on."

Last year in the Rookie-level Appalachian League, Walker smacked 14 homers and plated 45 runs for Elizabethton. He started this season as Minnesota's No. 19 prospect but fell one spot when the list was reworked at midseason.

The Wisconsin native has a .284/.324/.557 slash line in 110 games with 102 strikeouts and 25 walks.

"Batting cleanup, my role is as the run-producer," he said. "When guys get on base, I take pride in driving them in. In the four-hole, batting cleanup, it's a pretty good spot for me. When guys get on, one hit can drive in some runs and really change a game.

"I have some power, that's a big part of my game. I'm able to hit the ball out to all parts of the field. I'm not just always trying to yank the ball down the line to hit home runs, I'm trying to stay on the ball to the big part of the field, to left-center and right-center."

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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