Reno’s first baseman one of six participants in Tacoma
Reno first baseman Christian Walker will compete in Monday’s Triple-A Home Run Derby in Tacoma, the team announced Wednesday.
Walker, 26, was one of four Aces selected to play in the All-Star game next Wednesday, joining second baseman Ildemaro Vargas, outfielder Oswaldo Arcia, and relief pitcher Jimmy Sherfy.
Walker is batting .296 with 20 home runs (second in PCL), 84 RBIs (first in PCL) and 23 doubles (tied for third in PCL).
He will compete against Renato Nuñez (Nashville), Daniel Vogelbach (Tacoma), Bryce Brentz (Pawtucket), Danny Hayes (Charlotte) and Richie Shaffer (Columbus).
The 23-year-old Nuñez leads Triple-A and is tied for tops in Minor League Baseball with 22 homers. The Venezuelan native homered in a season-high three straight games twice, from May 1-3 and May 18-20, finishing the month with nine long balls. Nuñez has launched 120 homers in his seven-year career, the most of anyone in the Derby field.
Vogelbach, who will be batting in his home park, has hit 16 home runs with the Rainiers since joining the Mariners organization in a trade from the Chicago Cubs in July 2016. The 24-year-old was a second-round pick of the Cubs in 2011. He was the starting first baseman for the PCL in last year’s Triple-A All-Star Game as a member of the Iowa Cubs.
Pawtucket’s Brentz has mashed 18 homers on the year, trailing only two players for the International League lead. The Middle Tennessee State product hit 11 in the month of June to pace all IL players. Brentz has hit a homer once every 13.61 at-bats on the season to best the league. He has been in the Red Sox organization his entire career after getting selected by Boston in the first round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
Hayes, in just his fifth professional season and second at Minor League Baseball’s highest level, has already set a career-high with 15 home runs. The California native has slugged three grand slams on the season, including one as part of a multi-homer game. Hayes was a 13th round pick of the White Sox in 2013 out of Oregon State.
Shaffer leads a Columbus club that is second in the IL in homers with 17. The 26-year-old has five major league homers in only 51 games and is closing in on 100 for his professional career. Shaffer, in his first year in the Indians organization, spent his first five years with the Rays after getting drafted by Tampa Bay with the 25th overall pick in 2012 out of Clemson. He hit 30 homers with Durham in his two seasons with the Bulls.