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Legends On Deck

Prospects on Deck: SS Taylor Walls – Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays 2017 MLB Draft was highlighted by the first round pick of two-way player Brendan McKay. While many have been interested in seeing if the Louisville star could be a productive pro both on the mound and at the plate, one of his draft mates has been impressing under the radar. Third round pick Taylor Walls was high on the Rays draft board despite not being ranked as a high draft prospect.

The Georgia native signed under slot after a successful career at Florida State. During his time as a Seminole, Walls racked up several accolades including a 2016 First Team All-American nod from Baseball America and the right to call himself team captain in 2017.

After the draft, Walls was sent to short-season Hudson Valley for 46 games in his 2017 campaign. The switch-hitter really struggled at the plate in his first taste of pro pitching. He slashed just .213/.330/.287 for a concerning .617 OPS. He struck out 53 times but drew 29 walks, something he was always good at in college. Walls, who started all 42 of his games at shortstop, also made 11 errors in the field for a .943 fielding percentage.

                         Taylor Walls Bowling Green Hot Rods. Photo by Mathew Carper.

2018 has been a much different story for Walls who made the jump to Single-A and earned himself a Midwest League all-star selection. He has been one of the best hitters in the league while improving his basic defensive stats as well.

Through 69 games entering play on Monday, Walls has slashed .331/.421/.481 with 5 homers, 36 RBI and 17 stolen bases. His 156 wRC+ is tied for third in the 16 team Midwest League and his strikeout to walk ratio of 0.91 ranks fourth. Walls has always shown the ability to have great plate discipline and a good hit tool, but the gap power and stolen bases are new wrinkles to his game. Defensively, Walls has shown the footwork and arm to stay at shortstop as he moves up in the system.

The Rays were very aggressive with where they drafted Walls and he is now showing the potential that other teams didn’t see. Walls should continue to move up in the system with a good combination of improving bat skills, great athleticism, and a proven college track record.

Jake Berry
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Jake Berry

Contributing Writer at Legends On Deck®
Jake resides in Carrollton, GA and loves everything baseball. He is a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan and enjoys traveling to watch their Minor League teams. He graduated from the University of West Georgia with a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Management. Jake is also a certified personal trainer and has a passion for fitness and weight lifting. You can find his personal site at berrysbaseball.com

You can also reach out to Jake at jberry@legendsondeck.com
Jake Berry
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