Scouting Jays Prospect #47: Marcus Walden

The Toronto Blue Jays selected right-handed pitcher Marcus Walden in the 9th round of the 2007 MLB Draft out of Fresno Community College. He missed the majority of two seasons after Tommy John surgery but bounced back with a solid campaign in 2011 in Lansing and showed some of the same big league stuff he had prior to the injury.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Marcus Walden
Position: Pitcher
DOB: September 13, 1988
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 185
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

"I actually got hurt in April of 2009 in my fourth start in high-A, but before that I was going through a lot of mechanical changes from the time that I signed," Walden told FutureJays.com earlier this season. "I was pretty much just figuring out what to do mechanically and then my elbow blew out."

He attempted to initially rehab the injury for the remainder of the 2009 season but eventually fell victim to the surgery early in 2010 and subsequently missed that entire season too.

Walden focused a lot of his dry work on fixing his mechanics during his rehab over the ensuing year and the end result was a much more consistent delivery that allowed better command of his above average big league stuff.

"For the most part they're there now," he said of his mechanics. "I feel like I'm 80-85 percent mechanically sound. I still have a few hiccups trying to overthrow and that's something I'm still trying to get over.

"I just think about throwing the ball down over the zone. When my mechanics aren't right the ball gets elevated and gets hit."

He had few issues keeping the ball down in 2011, however, allowing less hits than innings pitched and surrendering just one home run in 100 innings pitched with the Lugnuts this season.

""What I've seen from Marcus, his fastball has returned," Lansing pitching coach Vince Horsman said. It's probably a little bit better than when it was prior to his surgery and his slider is really good as opposed to that first year when I had him.

"It's just the maturation of a young man into manhood. Marcus to me right now has Major League quality stuff. It's just a matter of repeating his pitches and knowing what his strength is, and it's obviously pitching down in the strike zone and being able to work his fastball to both sides of the plate."

While the results were quite solid in his first year back from the surgery -- posting a 3.24 ERA and holding batters to just a .239 average this year -- the fact that he did it while staying healthy is the bigger accomplishment, and it's a good sign for the future too.

"He's coming off an injury, so it's been nice to see him pitch and get a chance to compete," Lansing Manager Mike Redmond said. "He's a competitor, he's got a good arm. It's just a matter of him going out there and logging innings, getting comfortable and getting his arm strength up."

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2011

Lansing

6-6

0

100.0

90

28

54

3.24

2009

Dunedin

2-1

0

16.2

30

10

8

8.64

2008

Auburn

2-3

0

60.0

70

20

51

4.80

2007

GCL Blue Jays

2-4

0

44.1

45

12

32

3.05



Repertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball. Walden's combination of power and movement with his sinking two-seamer is really the bread and butter of his game. Sitting mostly in the 90-94 mph range with his fastball, it gets good late-life to it and it dives down and in to right-handed batters and away from lefties. He will have surpassed the infamous 18-month mark after Tommy John surgery for the 2012 season and there's some hope that, with a little more rest now that he has a full season under his belt, that his fastball could be a tick or two harder in the coming years.

Other Pitches. He has a slider that he calls a cutter as his go-to secondary pitch. Sitting mostly in the low-80s with the offering, it allows him to pitch in and out, and up and down in the zone. While he didn't get a ton of strikeouts in Lansing this year, it is an above average big league strikeout pitch. His changeup is still a little too firm and currently rates as a below average big league pitch, but the movement he gets with his sinker leads some scouts to believe the changeup has the chance to be a good weapon for him as he gets the feel for it.

Pitching: Stats don't often tell the whole story when it comes to pitching prospects, but in the case of Walden they are very accurate. He is extremely adept at keeping the ball down in the zone and his plan is to allow opposing batters to pound it into the dirt and let his defense work behind him. He is therefore very good at inducing double-plays and he doesn't beat himself by walking too many batters. He will go for the strikeout when he gets ahead in the count and he has the slider/cutter to do just that, but that's not his game.

Projection. Despite Walden moving into the starting rotation in Lansing this year, that's not really where he is best suited right now because the changeup is too inconsistent to get through a lineup two or three times successfully. However, with his plus sinker and above average slider, as well as his uncanny ability to keep the ball in the ballpark and induce double-plays, he does safely project as a potential big league middle reliever. Should he throw a little harder as he is further removed from Tommy John surgery or his slider improve more going forward, he does offer a setup type ceiling long-term.

ETA. 2013. The Blue Jays might keep Walden in the starting rotation a bit longer so he can continue to work on his delivery and changeup, but he could really start to move quicker once he is shifted back to the bullpen. He should start the 2012 season in high-A Dunedin and an eventual promotion to Double-A New Hampshire is likely afterwards.

Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Marcus Walden
\r\nPosition: Pitcher
\r\nDOB: September 13, 1988
\r\nHeight: 5'10\"
\r\nWeight: 185
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\n\"I actually got hurt in April of 2009 in my fourth start in high-A, but before that I was going through a lot of mechanical changes from the time that I signed,\" Walden told FutureJays.com earlier this season. \"I was pretty much just figuring out what to do mechanically and then my elbow blew out.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe attempted to initially rehab the injury for the remainder of the 2009 season but eventually fell victim to the surgery early in 2010 and subsequently missed that entire season too.
\r\n
\r\nWalden focused a lot of his dry work on fixing his mechanics during his rehab over the ensuing year and the end result was a much more consistent delivery that allowed better command of his above average big league stuff.
\r\n
\r\n\"For the most part they're there now,\" he said of his mechanics. \"I feel like I'm 80-85 percent mechanically sound. I still have a few hiccups trying to overthrow and that's something I'm still trying to get over.
\r\n
\r\n\"I just think about throwing the ball down over the zone. When my mechanics aren't right the ball gets elevated and gets hit.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe had few issues keeping the ball down in 2011, however, allowing less hits than innings pitched and surrendering just one home run in 100 innings pitched with the Lugnuts this season.
\r\n
\r\n\"\"What I've seen from Marcus, his fastball has returned,\" Lansing pitching coach Vince Horsman said. It's probably a little bit better than when it was prior to his surgery and his slider is really good as opposed to that first year when I had him.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's just the maturation of a young man into manhood. Marcus to me right now has Major League quality stuff. It's just a matter of repeating his pitches and knowing what his strength is, and it's obviously pitching down in the strike zone and being able to work his fastball to both sides of the plate.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile the results were quite solid in his first year back from the surgery -- posting a 3.24 ERA and holding batters to just a .239 average this year -- the fact that he did it while staying healthy is the bigger accomplishment, and it's a good sign for the future too.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's coming off an injury, so it's been nice to see him pitch and get a chance to compete,\" Lansing Manager Mike Redmond said. \"He's a competitor, he's got a good arm. It's just a matter of him going out there and logging innings, getting comfortable and getting his arm strength up.\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

\r\n Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n W-L

\r\n

\r\n SV

\r\n

\r\n IP

\r\n

\r\n H

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

\r\n SO

\r\n

\r\n ERA

\r\n

\r\n 2011

\r\n

\r\n Lansing

\r\n

\r\n 6-6

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 100.0

\r\n

\r\n 90

\r\n

\r\n 28

\r\n

\r\n 54

\r\n

\r\n 3.24

\r\n

\r\n 2009

\r\n

\r\n Dunedin

\r\n

\r\n 2-1

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 16.2

\r\n

\r\n 30

\r\n

\r\n 10

\r\n

\r\n 8

\r\n

\r\n 8.64

\r\n

\r\n 2008

\r\n

\r\n Auburn

\r\n

\r\n 2-3

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 60.0

\r\n

\r\n 70

\r\n

\r\n 20

\r\n

\r\n 51

\r\n

\r\n 4.80

\r\n

\r\n 2007

\r\n

\r\n GCL Blue Jays

\r\n

\r\n 2-4

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 44.1

\r\n

\r\n 45

\r\n

\r\n 12

\r\n

\r\n 32

\r\n

\r\n 3.05


\r\n
\r\nRepertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup.
\r\n
\r\nFastball. Walden's combination of power and movement with his sinking two-seamer is really the bread and butter of his game. Sitting mostly in the 90-94 mph range with his fastball, it gets good late-life to it and it dives down and in to right-handed batters and away from lefties. He will have surpassed the infamous 18-month mark after Tommy John surgery for the 2012 season and there's some hope that, with a little more rest now that he has a full season under his belt, that his fastball could be a tick or two harder in the coming years.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches. He has a slider that he calls a cutter as his go-to secondary pitch. Sitting mostly in the low-80s with the offering, it allows him to pitch in and out, and up and down in the zone. While he didn't get a ton of strikeouts in Lansing this year, it is an above average big league strikeout pitch. His changeup is still a little too firm and currently rates as a below average big league pitch, but the movement he gets with his sinker leads some scouts to believe the changeup has the chance to be a good weapon for him as he gets the feel for it.
\r\n
\r\nPitching: Stats don't often tell the whole story when it comes to pitching prospects, but in the case of Walden they are very accurate. He is extremely adept at keeping the ball down in the zone and his plan is to allow opposing batters to pound it into the dirt and let his defense work behind him. He is therefore very good at inducing double-plays and he doesn't beat himself by walking too many batters. He will go for the strikeout when he gets ahead in the count and he has the slider/cutter to do just that, but that's not his game.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. Despite Walden moving into the starting rotation in Lansing this year, that's not really where he is best suited right now because the changeup is too inconsistent to get through a lineup two or three times successfully. However, with his plus sinker and above average slider, as well as his uncanny ability to keep the ball in the ballpark and induce double-plays, he does safely project as a potential big league middle reliever. Should he throw a little harder as he is further removed from Tommy John surgery or his slider improve more going forward, he does offer a setup type ceiling long-term.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2013. The Blue Jays might keep Walden in the starting rotation a bit longer so he can continue to work on his delivery and changeup, but he could really start to move quicker once he is shifted back to the bullpen. He should start the 2012 season in high-A Dunedin and an eventual promotion to Double-A New Hampshire is likely afterwards.
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