PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There are three players in professional, affiliated baseball this season that have hit at least 30 home runs, scored 100 runs and knocked in at least 100 runs.
Two of them are a couple of Major League Baseball’s top sluggers – Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton and Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt.
The third? Why it’s Montgomery County native and Kennedy-Kenrick High School product Christian Walker, who finished the regular season with the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, with 32 home runs, 114 RBI and 104 runs scored. He did all this while batting .309. The performance earned him Pacific Coast League MVP honors.
“It’s been a great year,” Walker tells KYW Newsradio. “A lot of fun. First experience with the Diamondbacks organization, so I was happy to come out and really put a good first impression on. I felt like I had something to prove this year and I think achieved that, for sure.”
Walker, a right handed hitting first baseman expounds on why he felt like he needed to prove something here in 2017.
“I just wasn’t happy with the last few years, with the final product I put up at the end of the year,” he says. “Started re-evaluating my swing and just got back to basics and really embracing who I am as a hitter. Just nailing down my strengths. This is just, I think, the product of a lot of hard work and hopefully it continues.”
The 26-year-old Walker, who played his college ball at South Carolina, had spent his entire pro career in the Baltimore organization until this season. He actually made it to the big leagues with the Orioles during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
“It was a lot of fun,” he says of getting to the big leagues. “To go up and achieve something that I’ve been playing for for a long, long time. I was young, it was a ton of fun, it was a dream come true. It was a blast. It all happened pretty quick at the end of the year for me. Didn’t really have much time to think about it or get nervous. Kind of was thrown right into the fire and I wouldn’t of had it any other way.”
Does he think his performance this year has merited another chance at the big leagues?
“I hope so,” he says. “Unfortunately about baseball, you never find things out too early. It’s pretty instantaneous when you hear something and then that’s the transaction or that’s the move. So it’s been a great year, I’ve done everything that I can control and hopefully it’s enough where I can go up and help the team out.”
Walker reflects on his time back here in the Delaware Valley.
“I was born in Norristown,” he says. “When I was five or six, my parents moved out to Limerick/Pottstown Area. Went to Spring-Ford for a couple of years and ended up going back to high school in Norristown. So that was excited to move back, kind of where I was born, I’ve got a lot of family in that area. One thing about Kennedy-Kenrick was the Friday night games at Latshaw. That’s one think I remember specifically. Not many high school teams play Friday night games under the lights. So that’s a fond memory of mine, Friday nights at Latshaw-McCarthy Field and having the school come out and then family come out and support. It was a lot of fun.”
Walker and the Aces are now preparing for the Pacific Coast League playoffs. They will open up the post-season against the El Paso Chihuahuas on Wednesday.