A fifth-round draft pick in 2011, Walding would've probably gone higher had it not been for his lack of baseball experience (and exposure) as a two-sport standout (quarterback), and his strong commitment to Oregon. At 6’3”, 190 pounds, he’s extremely athletic with a projectable frame capable of adding strength.
Because he held out and signed just before the mid-August deadline in 2011, Walding didn’t begin his professional career until last season.
After opening the year in extended spring training, the left-handed hitter struggled in his debut at Short-Season Williamsport in the New York-Penn League, batting .233/.326/.308 with 14 extra-base hits and 66/31 K/BB in 69 games. However, that can be chalked up to his lack of experience.
With a fluid and clean swing from the left side, Walding can really drive the ball, contrary to his production last season. His above-average bat speed is effortless and allows him to extend through the ball and generate backspin carry.
One glaring deficiency is his inability to barrel left-handed pitching, which he batted .167 against last season in 60 at-bats.
All that the 20-year-old needs is experience. He’s a raw player relative to his age, but has the ceiling of a big-league third baseman at maturity. He may struggle initially in his full-season debut next season, but Walding appears poised for a breakout campaign.