Right-hander Marcus Walden, the closer in the highly touted 2015 Lancaster Barnstormers bullpen has been signed by the Minnesota Twins, it was announced during the holidays.
Walden, 27, joined the Barnstormers as a starter in May, but it was out of the bullpen that the right-hander made his mark, setting a franchise record with 26 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings of relief in a streak that began on June 11 and ended on August 7.
Overall, the Fresno, CA native went 2-4 with 15 saves and a 3,38 ERA in 48 appearances for the Barnstormers.
Walden signed with Toronto in 2007 as the Blue Jays’ ninth pick in the draft. He won 14 games as a starter in the Toronto organization in 2012, splitting time between Class A Lansing and Dunedin. He reached Class AAA Buffalo to open the 2014 season before heading to the Oakland system where he pitched at Class AAA Sacramento and Class AA Midland for the remainder of the season.
The product of Fresno City College opened the 2015 season with the Cincinnati Reds at Class AA Pensacola, making one start. He has been pitching in the Venezuela Winter League, where he has gone 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA for Aragua.
“This is great for Marcus,” said Lancaster manager Butch Hobson. “I don’t think I have ever had a harder working pitcher. Hopefully, he will get his shot.”
Walden becomes the third member of the 2015 Barnstormers to sign with a big league organization this winter, joining Bryan Morgado (Braves) and Zach Collier (Nationals).