Wheeling and Dealing: Saints Trade for Former Major League Second Baseman Zach Walters
ST. PAUL, MN - The St. Paul Saints offense has been stuck in neutral for the better part of the last few weeks. Looking to add a spark to the lineup manager George Tsamis went out and pulled off a major trade sending second baseman Noah Perio Jr. to the Kansas City T-Bones in exchange for former Major League second baseman Zach Walters.
The 28-year-old Walters was hitting .279 with six home runs and 34 RBI in 46 games this season with the T-Bones. In 190 at bats he scored 29 runs, had eight doubles, two triples, a .307 on base percentage and a .437 slugging percentage. Walters hit safely in 11-straight from June 8-18 and had an RBI in five straight from June 11-15. On May 25 at Chicago he slugged two homers and had four RBI.
Walters was a ninth-round pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010 out of the University of San Diego. He played in 85 Major League games with three different teams: Washington Nationals, Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers.
His career got off to a blazing start in 2010 with the Yakima Bears in the Northwest League. Walters hit .302 with four home runs and 43 RBI in 69 games. In 275 at bats he scored 44 runs, ripped 18 doubles, four triples, swiped 14 bases, had a .338 on base percentage, and a .440 slugging percentage. Walters finished third in the league in hits (83), tied for fourth in doubles, and ninth in average. He was selected as a Northwest League Post-Season All-Star and an MiLB.com Organizational All-Star. His team made the postseason, but lost in the semifinals to Spokane two-games-to-none. His season was highlighted by a 16-game hitting streak from July 18-August 6, which included four straight multi-hit games from August 3-6.
In 2011 Walters started the season at Single-A South Bend and hit .302 with nine homers and 56 RBI. In 97 games he scored 69 runs, slugged 27 doubles, six triples, stole 12 bases, a .377 on base percentage, and a .485 slugging percentage. He was a mid-season All-Star and finished seventh in the league in batting average. He scored a career high five runs on July 2 at Lake County. On July 30 Walters was traded to the Washington Nationals in exchange for pitcher Jason Marquis. Walters finished the season at Single-A Potomac where he hit .293 with 11 RBI in 30 games.
In 2012 Walters moved his way up the Nationals system beginning at Potomac where he hit .269 with five home runs and 24 RBI in 54 games. On June 19 he was promoted to Double-A Harrisburg and hit .293 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 43 games. He homered in back-to-back games on June 24 and 25 at New Hampshire. Finally, on August 3 Walters was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse where he hit .214 with a home run and six RBI in 29 games. Between all three stops he hit .266 with 12 home runs and 49 RBI in 126 games.
Walters got his first taste of the Major Leagues in 2013, but not before having a monster season at Syracuse. He hit .253 with a career high 29 home runs and a career high 77 RBI in 134 games. In 487 at bats he scored a career high 69 runs, had a career high 32 doubles, five triples, a .286 on base percentage, and .517 slugging percentage. He finished first in the league in extra base hits (66), total bases (252), tied for first in home runs, third in RBI, slugging, and home runs/at bat (1/16.79). He was named Hitter of the Week for two separate weeks from June 10-17 and July 22-29. He was selected as a Mid-Season All-Star, Post-Season All-Star and an MiLB.com Organizational All-Star. Walters hit safely in 10-straight from June 13-22 which included an incredible six straight games with a double from June 15-20. He also hit two home runs in two separate games within that hitting streak on June 14 and 22. He homered in back-to-back games three times on the season and in three straight from July 20-22. Walters was promoted to the Major Leagues on September 3 and got into his first game on September 6 at Miami. He pinch hit in the sixth inning and collected his first professional hit in his first at bat, a single off of Jose Fernandez. Overall, he was 3-8 in eight games with the Nationals.
In 2014 Walters began the season with Syracuse and was called up to the Nationals on two separate occasions from April 13-May 24 and then from July 23-30. With the Chiefs he hit .300 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI in 60 games. In 237 at bats he scored 38 runs, roped 18 doubles, five triples, a .358 on base percentage, and a .608 slugging percentage. He homered in four straight games from June 9-13 and hit safely in his final 12 games with the team. He also scored a run in six straight during that streak from July 10-18. With the Nationals Walters hit .205 with three home runs and five RBI in 32 games. He homered in back-to-back games against the Marlins on April 15 and 16. His first career homer came on April 15 off of Dan Jennings. On July 31 Walters was traded from the Nationals to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. He hit .387 with two home runs and eight RBI in seven games with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers, which included a two homer, six RBI game on August 3 at Pawtucket. Walters was promoted to the Indians on August 10 and hit .170 with seven home runs and 12 RBI in 30 games including homering in three-straight from August 20-22. He homered on August 20, off Ricky Nolasco, and 21, off Phil Hughes, against the Minnesota Twins.
Walters began 2015 with Columbus and hit .249 with 10 home runs and 48 RBI. In 91 games he scored 39 runs, slugged 21 doubles, three triples, a .310 on base percentage, and a .416 slugging percentage. The Clippers won the Governors Cup (International League Championship Series) and Walters hit for the cycle in Game 3 of the series. His team would lose in the Triple-A National Championship Game (winner of the International League vs. Pacific Coast League) to the Fresno Grizzlies. Walters was called up to the Indians on two separate occasions and hit .122 with three RBI in 12 games.
At the beginning of the 2016 season Walters was traded to the Dodgers along with outfielder James Ramsey in exchange for cash. He hit .276 with 10 home runs and 53 RBI in 94 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City. In 333 at bats he scored 45 runs, smacked 18 doubles, four triples, a .326 on base percentage, and a .444 slugging percentage. His season was highlighted by five straight multi-hit games from June 3-9, which included a two home run, five RBI game on June 7 at Round Rock. He was called up to Los Angeles on July 16 and played in three games going 0-5.
Walters went to spring training with the Cincinnati Reds in 2017, but began the season on the disabled list. He was activated on May 5 and played in 11 games at Triple-A Louisville where he hit .174 with two RBI before being released on May 19. He was then signed by the T-Bones and dominated in his 18 games hitting .347 with six home runs and 20 RBI. In 75 at bats he had five doubles, a .363 on base percentage, and a .653 slugging percentage. He hit safely in his final 12-games with the team before having his contract purchased by the Kansas City Royals. He played 24 games with Double-A Northwest Arkansas and got into one game as a pinch runner at Triple-A Omaha. He hit .211 with a home run and eight RBI before being placed on the disabled list for the remainder of the season on July 22.
Perio Jr. was hitting .311 with no home runs and 17 RBI in 44 games.
The Saints roster stands at the league maximum 23, 11 pitchers and 12 position players.
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