Saturday morning brought news that Minnesota Twins fans had waited for a long time to hear: Minnesota native and former Twins supplemental first round pick, Matt Wallner, has been called up to make his MLB debut.
On the Matt Wallner side, this is phenomenal news. Wallner is the Twins’ midseason No. 8 prospect, and for good reason. Wallner has a cannon for an arm, but his bat is the real draw for the 24-year-old outfielder.
The Minnesota Twins have called up one of their top prospects in outfielder Matt Wallner.
Wallner struggled with injuries his first few years, but his monstrous power and strong hitting skills have always been the selling point for him as a player. In 2022, he’s reached a new level, both literally and figuratively.
Wallner finally cleared the 70 game mark as a pro, and it’s resulted in stellar numbers. In 78 games at Double-A, Wallner slashed .299/.436/.597, dominating the competition, earning a trip to All-Star futures game, and earned a call up to Triple-A to play with the Saints.
After a tough start to his AAA career, Wallner has caught fire over the past month. Since August 17th, Wallner has slashed .316/.442/.592 over his last 26 games while earning 19 RBI and 19 BB over that stretch.
As strong as Wallner’s bat is, his glove is a little shaky, raising the question that he might not be able to remain the team’s right fielder, but given the current outfield situation (Larnach, Kirilloff, Buxton on the IL, Celestino, Cave, Kepler struggling mightily), there is no reason to keep him in the minors.
To make room for Wallner on the roster, the Twins put Max Kepler on the injured list and designated Drew Strotman for assignment. The Kepler move made a lot of sense, as he hadn’t been playing and was clearly not at his healthiest. It was the Strotman move that was a bit of a head-scratcher.
Drew Strotman was the other piece of the trade that sent Nelson Cruz to Tampa Bay last season, and while Joe Ryan is the key piece of the deal, Strotman was also seen as a highly touted prospect, ranked 16th in the organization to end 2021 and 24th in our rankings to begin the year.
Now Strotman had struggled since arriving with the Minnesota Twins, posting an ERA of 6.90 in 104.1 innings. The Twins tried converting him to a reliever this year to get the most out of his stuff, but even that hasn’t helped.
He still has good strikeout stuff, just turned 26, and has more upside than a few other players, so it’s a baffling move to DFA him over the likes of Emilio Pagan, Aaron Sanchez, Caleb Hamilton, Sandy Leon, Billy Hamilton, Chris Archer, Devin Smeltzer.
All seven of those players have ZERO future with the Minnesota, and while Strotman likely doesn’t either, I hate the idea of designating a young player for assignment in favor of an older player who won’t (or at least shouldn’t) be on the active roster in a month.
Regardless of the mistake that is designating Strotman, fans should be absolutely thrilled that Wallner has been called up. As we mentioned before, getting Wallner and Louie Varland run as this season winds to a close will be a huge bonus for the Minnesota Twins, both now and in the future.