Legends On Deck

Eastern League Player of the Week: Mitch Walding – Phillies

The Reading Fightin Phils certainly have their share of firepower.  For the second time in three weeks, a player from their team is receiving accolades for the week’s best.  After a monstrous week where he sent five over the fence, the Legends on Deck Eastern League Player of the Week is Mitch Walding of the Reading Fighting Phils.

Despite his early season struggles, Walding went 8-for-23 (.347) this week, with eight runs scored, a double, a triple, five bombs, and eight RBI.  One of those eight that he drove in proved to be a game-winner on Sunday against the Akron Rubber Ducks.  Prior to this weeks outburst, Walding was hitting just .186, but has now raised his average to .201 but trending in the right direction.

The Philadelphia Phillies made Walding their fifth round pick in the 2011 draft out of high school.  He didn’t make his professional debut until the 2012 season after signing in August after the draft.  Walding started out in Williamsport of the New York-Penn League and did fairly well as a 19-year old.

He spent the next two season with the Lakewood BlueClaws of the South Atlantic League, and would work his way all the way up to Double-A Reading in 2016.

The power element of his game is starting to develop this season, as he has matched his home run total from a year ago already in just 43 games.  Walding was once regarded highly in the Phillies system but has since dropped out of their top 30.  He does strikeout a lot, but if he continues to trend upwards, he could be entered into conversations with the Phillies once again.

Congratulations to Mitch Walding on being named the Legends on Deck Eastern League Player of the Week.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

It does seem like every week so far since starting this award, there is more than on Reading player up for discussion.  This week was no different.  Battling Walding was his teammate Angelo Mora.  Mora went 10-for-22 (.455) with two home runs and 10 RBI.

Rafael Devers of the Portland Sea Dogs  had a great week for himself.  He went 11-for-26 and completed the week cycle hitting a double, triple, and two homers to go along with his seven singles.  Devers scored four and drove in six also.

Two other hitters that were considered for the weekly honors were Altoona Curve’s Jordan Luplow (9-for-22) and Bowie Baysox Steve Wilkerson (11-for-25).

A few pitchers had very good weeks that need mentioning as well.  Matt Esparza of the Akron Rubber Ducks picked up a win in eight innings with 10 strikeouts.  It was his first Double-A start and first win.  Relief pitchers Sean Donatello of Erie and Shane Broyles of Hartford had weeks of note also.

John Ginder

Site Co-Founder/Senior Editor and Co-Host at Legends on Deck® The Podcast
In the past John has been a part of such successful sites as MetsMerizedOnline and MetsMinors.net.John was born and raised in upstate New York and has a love of all sports but mainly baseball. He has grown used to heartache with his teams as he roots for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres too.John has a loving and understanding wife and is the the proud father of two amazing boys.He also loves heavy metal music.

You can also reach out to John at jginder@legendsondeck.com