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Weekend Excerpts

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Some 2008 Baseball Prospect Book excerpts for your weekend reading pleasure.

Jordan Walden, RHP, Los Angeles Angels
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-5 WT: 220 DOB: November 16, 1987

The Angels drafted Walden in the 12th round in '06, out of high school in Texas. This was a bit of clever drafting, as Walden was considered a first round talent until an erratic senior year that saw him lose 5 MPH off his fastball. He went to junior college, got his fastball back, then signed a contract for $1 million. Walden looked great in the Pioneer League, showing a 94-98 MPH fastball. His slider and changeup are shaky at times, but he has good command for a young power pitcher. He also gets a fair number of ground balls. I like Walden a lot, given all the standard young pitcher caveats, of course. I will give him a Grade B, high praise for a rookie ball pitcher, but the upside here is tremendous.

P.J. Walters, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-4 WT: 200 DOB: March 12, 1985

P.J. Walters suffers from "Broken Stat-Line Syndrome." This means he had a great year in 2007, but not many people have noticed because it was split between three levels, breaking up the statistical record into chunks that are easy to overlook. Combined, he went 12-6, 2.55 with a 147/33 K/BB in 152 innings, allowing 130 hits and just eight homers. Walters was drafted in the 11th round in '06, from the University of South Alabama. His stuff is average: 88-90 fastball, average breaking ball, average changeup. But he throws strikes, changes speeds very well, keeps the ball down, avoids gophers and generally keeps hitters off balance. He adjusted well in his Double-A trial last year, and I think he's a sleeper prospect as an inning-eating starter. Grade B-, and a candidate to sneak up on us quickly. Watch him closely.