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Forest Lake native Matt Wallner drafted by Twins with 39th overall pick

The 2016 Mr. Baseball winner has a ton of power.

After taking prep shortstop Keoni Cavaco 13th overall in Monday's MLB Draft, the Twins followed it up by selecting University of Southern Mississippi right fielder Matt Wallner. 

Does the name sound familiar? 

Wallner is a Minnesota native, growing up in Forest Lake where he won the Mr. Baseball award in 2016 as the state's best senior baseball player. 

"Obviously, my dream has always been to play for the hometown team, and this is just a dream come true," Wallner told TwinsBaseball.com after being selected. "Just a lot of hard work and dedication, and couldn't do it without the help of the coaches and my family, and everyone who supported me."

He originally committed to the University of North Dakota but instead went to Southern Miss after UND's baseball program was discontinued. It worked out very well for the 6-foot-5, 225-pound slugger. 

Wallner smacked 58 homers in three years at Southern Miss – the most in Conference USA history – and boasts a rocket of an arm in the outfield. According to MLB Network's Jim Callis, Wallner has "light-tower power" and can throw 97 mph. 

The 21-year-old hit .323 during this season 23 home runs and 60 RBI, with 20 of his 23 homers coming in the final 35 games. He was just as good, arguably even better, during his freshman and sophomore seasons. 

  • Freshman 2017: .336/.463/.655, 19 HR, 63 RBI
  • Sophomore 2018: .351/.474/.618, 16 HR, 67 RBI
  • Junior 2019: .323/.446/.681, 23 HR, 60 RBI

Wallner wasn't the first Minnesotan to be drafted this year. Michael Busch, a Simley High School star from Inver Grove Heights, was drafted 31st overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Busch hit .290 this season with 16 home runs and 57 RBI at the University of North Carolina. 

The Twins wrapped up day one of the draft by taking right-handed pitcher Matt Canterino with the 54th overall pick. He's the 2019 Conference USA Pitcher of the Year at Rice University, where he owned a 3.33 ERA in 48 career appearances (47 starts). 

The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder racked up 348 strikeouts in 289 1/3 innings. 

Rounds 3-10 of the draft begin at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. 

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