Q&A With North Dakota Commit- '16 Matt Wallner- Forest Lake

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By Rob Allison
Prep Baseball Report Minnesota

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----matt wallner - mattwallner.jpgName: Matt Wallner
Position: OF/RHP
Class: 2016
Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 190-pounds
High School: Forest Lake
PBR Rank: #20 in MN 2016 Class

Evaluation: 6-foot-4, 190-pound 2-way player with a tall athletic build who ran a 7.06 60. Highly projectable body/ athletic player who opened eyes at event. 90 mph exit velocity off tee. Shows plus power to gaps with short explosive swing and quality separation and extension. Hands are tight to chest causing him to hook baseballs at times but overall projects very well at the plate with gap to gap approach and leverage in swing. Ability to cover ground in outfield. Above average actions moving laterally and fielding. Needs to improve transfer/throwing footwork and use leverage and momentum. Arm works clean. High release point causing some throws to sail. 83 mph arm strength from outfield. Tall and projectable on the mound. 2-piece arm action that starts long and begins to shorten mid-circle. Fastball shows above average run at 83-85 mph. Shows flashes of a breaking ball with tight rotation and sharp break. Wrist is stiff and pushes changeup at times causing flat action at 73-74 mph. Feel for zone with 3 pitches.

PBR: Why did you choose the University of North Dakota?
WALLNER: I chose North Dakota because it was a good fit for myself not only for baseball but school as well. It is a school where I will hopefully have lots of opportunities to play both as a position player and pitcher.

PBR: What other schools were you considering?
WALLNER: I was pretty set on UND after visiting there last November, but some other schools that expressed interest in me included: South Dakota State, Creighton, Illinois State, Bradley, St. Cloud State and Minnesota State. 

PBR: Where did the coaching staff first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?
WALLNER: They saw me at the Showtime Sports Camp in Burnsville. Shortly after I was invited to attend their prospect camp in September. I took a visit in November and that followed up with continued contact since then.

PBR: Do you feel relieved now that the process is over and you can just focus on baseball and not deal with everything that goes into picking a school?
WALLNER: Absolutely, it's a huge decision and once you know you picked the right place it's very exciting and relieving.

PBR: Was there one deciding factor that put your choice over the top?
WALLNER: No, there's multiple things I loved about UND including the coaches, school, opportunity, location, etc.

PBR: Who has helped you the most to get to where you are today?
WALLNER: Brian Raabe. He has helped me and my brother in baseball (hitting especially) all the way up and continues today. I've learned countless knowledge from him that will help me with the rest of my baseball career and life. 

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it easy/difficult?
WALLNER: I thought it was pretty enjoyable and simple until the decision time. Even if you know it's the right school you still second guess yourself at the end, but I am thankful I made the right decision.

PBR: What plans does the coaching staff have in store for you in your freshman season?
WALLNER: I hope to earn a spot in the outfield and lineup as much as possible. In addition to possibly working into the bullpen. Any way to get on the field and help the team win games. 

PBR: What is your most memorable baseball moment to date?
WALLNER: I'd have to say, 2014 Scout Stop Tournament, hitting a home run against MN Blizzard and ultimately beating them with a top pitcher on the mound in Cole Gnetz. It was one of the best baseball games I've ever been a part of.

PBR: Who is the best player that you have competed against?
WALLNER: Sam Hentges or Cole Gnetz. Both exceptional players.