Skip to main content

PhoulBallz Interview: 3B Prospect Mitch Walding

Phillies 5th round draft choice from 2011, Mitch Walding, is off to a solid start to the regular season this year with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws.  Walding, a 3rd baseman, has gone 9-for-28 (.321 avg) with two doubles and six RBI through eight games thus far against South Atlantic League competition.

The lefty batting Lodi, CA native made his pro debut last season with the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters, posting a .233 batting average along with 10 doubles, three triples, a homer and 31 RBI in 69 games.

After playing in the Florida Instructional League last year as well, the six-foot-three 190-pounder came into spring training this year, ready to make an impact and made his full season team debut last week.

I spoke with the 20-year-old Walding recently about his his draft experience, his time as a pro thus far and plenty more.  Read ahead to check out the full interview.


- In 2011, you were a 5th round draft pick.  I just wanted to get you to take me through your draft experience and talk about how you were tracking the draft, how did you learn the Phillies drafted you and how did you celebrate?

I was at my grandmother's house with all my family and friends.  I knew I wasn't probably gonna go the first day, I knew I was gonna go anywhere from four to, anywhere to round 15. We were just kind of sitting there and waiting and we came down and I didn't really think I was gonna get picked that day, 'cause I was the last pick of that day, or whatever, on TV, and all of a sudden it kind of just happened. They called my name and my whole family was excited and kind of jumping around. Everyone was stoked. It was a great time. You can't really explain it. It was a great time. Everyone was full of excitement.


-  You had some solid output for a guy making his pro debut last year.  How did you feel about your performance with Williamsport in 2012?

In the beginning of the season, I was doing very, very well. I was just super hot and doing very well. And towards the middle and end, I struggled and kind of fell off of what I was originally doing, but I think the good thing about last season was seeing what my potential could be and just knowing that I can (play) at a high level and, if I can maintain that, I can post some really good numbers. It was just a good learning experience. You learn so many things in your first year, handling failure, playing every day and the grind. Last season was a (very) beneficial season for me. it may not have been the greatest season, but it was something that you learn from and there were so many things I took from that season.


- Who has been the biggest help to you within the Phils organization?

I think so far, probably my biggest help has been Andy Tracy. He was my manager last year and he's able to talk you through the ups and downs, you know, what he thought I was doing wrong with hitting wise or fielding wise. But, aside from that, if there was anything I ever needed, he was always there. And he always knew the right things to say, I feel like, at the time. He was just always (offering) positive encouragement and let's you know everything's going to be cool and what you're doing good and what you need to work on.


- A lot of this team played for Andy last year on the Williamsport team. Do you think that can be advantageous to the core of this team this year, having already gelled and worked together for the most part?

Oh, definitely. It's always nice having, basically, the same guys back. You're able to gel more as a team. It's like a college team. In college, the more years they're together, they're driven by more than just a selfish play-for-myself kind of thing, which can kind of happen in the minor leagues, when everybody's playing for the same job. You know, here it's like everyone's each other's buddy. And so, when everyone's playing for each other, it makes a bigger connection, with more stuff on the line, and I think that's what we have here, a huge team bond. Everyone likes each other and gels well.


- I know you're a California guy. What pro players did you look up to as a youngster?

When I was very, very young, I was always a big Derek Jeter fan. I wore the number 2 and I was a shortstop. As I got older, I was a big Troy Tulowitzki fan. Not too many California guys, for some reason I was always an out-of-state fan. But, those are the two guys I always enjoyed watching.


- Definitely a good pair. And I want to see if you've got another good pair of names to share. We spoke of you spending last season and all of spring training this year with this core group of guys. Who are the most entertaining guys on this Lakewood roster?

The most entertaining guys...I don't know. That's tough. I would say the biggest joker on the team, as in funny wise, is Nic Hanson. Him of Tyler Greene. One or the other. They're some goofballs.


- Okay, so let's get some examples. What are Nic and Tyler doing to be the comedians of the group?

Just the things that come out of their mouths. I don't know how to explain it. Nic will have some of the dumbest things you've ever heard come out of his mouth, just because he's a southern California guy. Greene, it's just his actions. He does some dumb stuff, action wise. It's hard to explain, just kind of the stuff that Nic says, his reasoning. He'll say stuff and the reasons behind why he thinks certain things are and they're the dumbest reasonings you'll ever hear.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

IronPigs Quotables: JD Hammer interview excerpts

JD Hammer, image- Cheryl Pursell HELP SUPPORT CONTENT LIKE THIS AND KEEP IT COMING ALL YEAR LONG BY BECOMING A PATRON!  Get early access to my posts plus EXCLUSIVE interviews & other content- https://www.patreon.com/phoulballz Recently I published a feature on reliever J.D. Hammer , who spent some time with the big league Phillies before returning to the minors with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In the piece, Hammer and the IronPigs' coaching staff speak about the righty pitcher's current path and what he's focused on to return to the majors. During my time chatting with the talented prospect he spoke on some topics that didn't make the cut in the feature.  Topics included the variance in the baseball at the upper levels, the IronPigs' catchers and more.  Read ahead for those interview excerpts. I asked Hammer about the difference in the baseball from the lower levels of the minors to Triple-A and the majors.  The variance in the balls is said to take

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #7 LHP JoJo Romero

JoJo Romero, image- Jay Floyd With a growing crop of very talented pitching prospects in the Phillies organization, left-hander JoJo Romero is certainly among the standouts. The five-foot-11 200-pounder was the Phils’ 4th round draft selection in 2016. That year he helped Yavapai College, the same school that the Phillies drafted Kenny Giles from in 2011, clinch the JuCo World Series, leading the way with an 11-5 record, a 3.64 ERA and a 10.2 K/9 mark. He also tossed a complete game gem to earn the win in their title game. After signing with the Phillies, Romero made his professional debut as a member of the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters. There, he notched a 2-2 record with a 2.56 ERA while striking out 31 and walking 11 in 45 2/3 innings. In 2017, he got off to a terrific start with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. In 13 starts, Romero tallied a 5-1 record with a 2.11 ERA and a 9.3 K/9 mark and was honored as a South Atlantic League mid-season All-Star. R

Bubby Rossman's long awaited MLB debut

Eight years after he initially signed a professional contract with the Dodgers and a five-year stretch playing away from affiliated ball, Bubby Rossman became a major leaguer on Wednesday. Added as a substitute for pitcher Kyle Gibson, who is restricted from travel to Canada for the Phillies' series in Toronto, due to his medical inability to be vaccinated from COVID-19, Rossman took the mound for the first time in the majors. Rossman, who was a 22nd round draft selection in 2014 had pitched in 200 professional games before his one-inning outing in the Phillies' 8-2 loss to the Blue Jays. In 27 appearances with Double-A Reading this year, the 30-year-old right-hander has performed well, tallying a 2-2 record with a save, a 3.32 ERA and a .200 batting average against.   The embedded video below features a media session with Rossman from prior to opening day this year, in which the California native discusses his journey through independent baseball and back to affiliated ball wi