The Twins are always looking to add more right-handed power bats. It has been a need for a couple of decades. With their third-round draft pick in the 2012 draft, the Twins selected outfielder Adam Walker out of Jacksonville University. Just look at the numbers he put up in his three years of college. In 51 games as a freshman, he hit .312/.400/.635 (1.035) with 14 doubles and 16 homers. In 61 games as a sophomore, he hit .409/.486/.682 (1.168) with 23 doubles and 13 homers. Then in 2012 as a junior, he hit .343/.426/.581 (1.007) with 14 doubles and 12 home runs.
Upon signing, he went to Elizabethton. He played in 58 games and hit .250/.310/.496 (.805) with seven doubles, four triples and 14 homers. In 252 plate appearances, he walked 19 times and struckout 76 times. However, he played a huge role in the Elizabethton Twins 2012 Appalachian League championship. As you recall, in the decisive Game 3 of the championship series, he came to the plate in the bottom of the 9th
with his team down by four runs. Following a wild pitch, there were runners on 2nd
with two outs. Walker got a pitch he was looking for and he launched a game-tying home run to send the game to extra innings. A couple of innings later, he was in the on-deck circle when teammate DJ Hicks launched a walk-off grand slam to give the team the title.
That was his introduction to professional baseball. Now, he attempts to work on the things that will help him push toward advancing to the big leagues. He will work on learning the outfield. He will work to put the ball in play more frequently. He will continue to work on his power swing. One thing is a given. He will work.
And today, he was willing to take the time to participate in our 12 Questions With series. Letís get it started.
Twins Daily (TD):
Growing up, who was your favorite team, and who were some of your favorite players?
Adam Walker (AW): Growing up, my favorite player was always Ken Griffey Jr. I always enjoyed watching him but I haven't quite found a new favorite players since he has retired. My favorite team growing up had to be the Brewers. Being from Milwaukee, it was hometown team.
Tell us a little bit about your high school career. Have you always played in the outfield? Did you participate in other extra-curricular activities?
AW: In high school, I played football (Quarterback) and basketball (Forward) along with baseball. Baseball was always my favorite sport though. Growing up, until I got to college, I was a catcher actually. So I was recruited out of high school as a catcher but moved to the outfield and played some first as well in college.
Were you heavily recruited out of high school? What made you choose Jacksonville U?
AW: I was recruited by a decent amount of schools in the Midwest area. A big part of my decision was getting south and having some better weather. So it was hard to get recruited being from the Midwest. My main options were between Jacksonville, Louisville, and Western Carolina. Jacksonville seemed like a good school for me being from a smaller high school. The coaches were great to me and they had a winning program.
You put up huge numbers all three years in college. What are some of the best memories from your collegiate years?
AW: My best memories were in my sophomore year. We went to University of Florida and beat them by a good amount while they were the number one team in the country. Later that season, we made it to a regional and that was a great time. That experience was great and I enjoyed it a lot.
The Twins selected you in the 3rd round in 2012. Had you talked to Twins scouts, and is that about where you thought you might be drafted?
AW: I had talked to the twins before the draft, and I knew they were interested in me. I went to a pre-draft workout in Target Field just days before the draft. I was not sure what team I would go to but I had an idea I would be taken some time around the 2nd or 3rd round.
You signed quickly and reported to Elizabethton. What was the adjustment to pro ball like for you?
AW: It was an interesting adjustment for me. The main adjustment was getting used to playing every day. Coming from college when you play 4 games a week to playing 7 was a big part. It wears on your body a lot more, and it was a grind. I would see better depth in pitching on teams and they attacked you with fastballs a lot more than I saw in college. Once I made some adjustments to that, I felt a lot better at the plate.
You had 14 regular season home runs and three huge homers in the playoffs. Discuss the championship series and particularly the monster home run you hit in the bottom of the ninth to complete a huge comeback in the championship game. Then to win the game in extras on DJ Hicks' walk-off grand slam! What a game!
AW: That championship game was the most exciting game I have ever been a part of. The emotions I felt throughout the game were crazy. For me, hitting that game tying home run in the 9th was the biggest hit of my life. I just tried to tell myself to get a good pitch to hit. I was able to get a pitch up, and I didn't miss it. At the end of the game, I was on deck when DJ hit the game-winner. So I felt like I had the best spot in the stadium. I was extremely happy for him and it was a great experience. I am glad I was able to win a championship with that group of guys.
Were there any lessons you learned from your time in the Instructional League?
AW: In the Instructional league, I learned a lot more about the defensive part of the game. This past summer was my first full season as an outfielder, so it was nice to be able to learn more about the position. I felt like I had gotten better defensively while I was there. As far as hitting went, there was not as much learning but just slight adjustments that would be able to help me not miss pitches I could handle. It was a good learning experience for me.
How would you describe yourself as a player? What are your strengths and what areas do you need to improve most to advance through the minor leagues?
AW: I feel I can be a valuable part to a team because I bring a good bat to the order. I have always hit fairly well and I have power which helps with run production. I am working on being more consistent which will help be more of a game-changer. I have struck out a lot but with work, I will cut down and that will only make me a better hitter. Defensively, I am going to continue to keep working in the outfield, and I feel my athleticism will work well in the outfield.
How has your offseason been, and when do you start prepping for the 2013 season?
AW: The off season has been going well for me. I took some time off after instructional league. Now I have been working out and lifting. I am trying to get stronger so I will be prepared to make it through the whole season next year. I am hitting and working on my defense as well. I am trying to come back to spring training prepared to be at my best.
Who are some of the people who have helped you get to this stage in life and in your career?
AW: My Parents have been a huge part of getting me to where I am right now. They sacrificed a lot to get me the work I needed to get better. They always push me to be the best I can be in all aspects of life. They are my best supporters and encourage me to keep working.
What do you enjoy doing when you're not playing baseball?
AW: I am a pretty laid back person so I don't do too much outside the baseball field. I just enjoy being with my friends and hanging out. I love sports so when I have the opportunity to check out sporting games I usually watch those.
What is your favorite baseball movie?
AW: My favorite baseball movie has to be The Sandlot. I just love watching it because it reminds me of when I was younger and just played the game for fun. It kind of reminds me that this game is fun and to enjoy it.
Itís always fun to get to know the Twins prospects before they become household names. Thank you very much to Adam Walker for taking some time to answer our questions. Best wishes to him on a long and successful career. Please feel free to discuss in the comments.