Just this afternoon, the Brewers filled the final spot of their 40-Man roster by claiming Milwaukee-native outfielder Adam Walker from the Minnesota Twins.
The right-handed slugger attended Milwaukee Lutheran High School before he went on to Jacksonville University, playing both outfield and first base. He was drafted in the third round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins (97th overall). This will mark the first time Walker has left the Twins’ organization.
Coming in at 6’5″ and weighing 225 lbs., Walker has been known for his immense power – something that will play out incredibly well if he is sent to Triple-A Colorado Springs. In fact, the 15th-best prospect in the Twins system (according to MLB Pipeline) was rated as having the most power potential in their entire farm system (60 overall, considered ‘plus’). By those standards, Walker would also be tied with top prospect OF Lewis Brinson as owning the most power potential out of any Brewers prospects. Not only does he have great power potential, but he has experience playing first base – a spot the Brewers sorely need depth at. Though it should be noted he hasn’t played there his entire minor league career, it might be a good way to boost his chances of reaching the big leagues. With only Garrett Cooper – who is exposed to this winter’s Rule 5 Draft – the lone regular at the position in the system, there’s a good chance they’ll give him reps there in case Chris Carter is injured or struggling (also barring a non-tender or trade scenario). Another plus for him has been his health, as he’s logged over 550 plate appearances in every season since 2013.
Though as much as his traditional statistics make it look like the deal is a steal, there are some serious flaws in Walker’s game. The most glaring downside is the strikeout rates. With those high home run totals, he boasts an even higher strikeout ratio – a staggering 36.4% in his two years in the upper minor leagues. To compare it to more widely-known names, that number is reaching the levels of exciting power prospect Joey Gallo’s (38%). I also mentioned the possibility that Walker could revert back to first base, but the idea could be more likely due to his defense: he has a weak arm in left field (reminiscent of Khris Davis) along with below average instincts and speed.
It was surprising to see a player with this kind of power to fall into waivers, but it may have been a way to sneak him through the mess of waivers that occurred today, as well as opening up a space to sign a free agent or protect a more coveted prospect. Surely, a player with immense power would be considered to be someone to get a chance – especially by a team that fell short in their expectations, as well as being able to use the designated hitter. Fortunately, the Brewers were able to nab another high-risk, high-reward player to roll the dice with. If he figures to pan out, he could turn into a Chris Carter-style player with slightly lower walk rates. If not, he should surely be fun to watch in the hitter-friendly confines of Colorado Springs for next year.
Note: Photo credited to Tom Hagerty