Aces' Walker honored as PCL's Most Valuable Player

Reno IF has paced PCL's highest scoring offense with career year

Photo Credit: Reno Aces

By Pacific Coast League | September 1, 2017 1:52 PM

ROUND ROCK, Texas - A prolific offensive season for Reno Aces' Christian Walker has culminated with the infielder receiving the Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player award, the league's highest individual honor. The Aces, who were this year's champions of the Pacific Northern Division, have had two players previously win the award, Adam Eaton in 2012 and Chris Owings in 2013.

Walker has spearheaded the PCL's highest-scoring offense by driving in a Minor League Baseball-best 113 runs. He has hit 32 home runs and has scored 103 to join the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton and the Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt as the only players in professional baseball to have at least 30 home runs, 100 RBI and 100 runs this season. Walker is the first PCL player to eclipse those totals in a single-season since 2011, when Tacoma's Alex Liddi hit 30 home runs, drove in 104 runs and scored 121 runs. Walker, who has hit .309 (156-for-505) in 130 games, has also paced the Minors in extra-base hits (74) and total bases (302).

Video: Walker hits one way out for the Aces

The Diamondbacks farmhand has racked up three multi-homer games en route to setting a Reno single-season franchise record in home runs. Walker hit a monthly-best eight home runs in May, which featured a go-ahead grand slam in the ninth inning of a victory at Sacramento on May 8. Five days later, he recorded one of the PCL's four cycles this season, tying his season-bests in hits (4) and RBI (5) in an extra-inning win. Walker has hit safely in 26 of the last 28 games, which included a season-high 14-game streak from July 31-August 15, during which he hit .368 (21-for-57).

Video: Reno's Walker bashes grand slam

The 26-year-old's career year has also featured him getting elected to both the PCL mid- and postseason All-Star teams. He was the league's designated hitter in the Triple-A All-Star Game, going 2-for-4 with a run scored, while he got the nod at first base on the end-of-season team. Walker was also named the PCL's Player of the Week for the season's extended opening week of April 6-16.

Video: Reno's Walker completes cycle

The Pennsylvania native originally came up through the Baltimore Orioles system after getting selected in the fourth round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. With the Orioles, Walker was a four-time organizational All-Star and made his Major League debut, appearing in 13 games over the 2014-15 seasons. He was claimed off waivers by three different teams this off-season, the last being Arizona in late March. The infielder also had a decorated college career at the University of South Carolina, where he hit 30 home runs in three seasons and was a member of two National Championship teams.

Walker secured over two-thirds of a vote of field managers, media representatives and league officials to win the 81st Most Valuable Player in the PCL's storied history. The likes of Joe DiMaggio (1935), Sandy Alomar, Jr. (1988-89), Tino Martinez (1991) and Paul Konerko (1997) have previously won the award. Albuquerque's Mike Tauchman , an All-PCL outfielder who has hit .331, was this season's runner-up.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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