Top Pick Not Thinking About The Draft

The good thing about being ranked No. 1 in anything is that you are considered to be the cream of the crop. However, there comes a downfall to being the best player in the country. Everyone will be breaking down your game, your mechanics, your attitude off the field, and any other possible aspect of your game as they try to disprove your No. 1 ranking. That is exactly what occurred with Jordan Walden this past summer.

Walden was pitching in the Area Code Games, one of many summer showcases for the top prospects in the nation. These games were held August 6-10 at Blair Field in Long Beach, California. Scouts came to watch Walden, a 6-foot-4, 185 pounder, throw his blazing fastball, which has touched 97 MPH during his high school season.

However, the buzz was not circling around Walden's blazing fastball, but the average fastball he was showing. Scouts had to double check with each other when they saw his fastball was being clocked at 88 and 89 MPH. Walden broke 90 just a few times and scouts were immediately concerned.

"At the end of the year my arm started to get tired," Walden told the Scout Network in a recent phone interview. "High school baseball runs right into all the summer showcases and tournaments."

Walden's arm never had an opportunity to rest and he believes that is the reason for the decrease in velocity. The Arlington, Texas native, however, is not concerned about his arm and was working hard to getting it back into game shape.

"The last time I picked up a ball was during the AFLAC All-American Game," said the Mansfield High senior. "I just started playing catch again last week and am beginning to work my way up to full strength."

Other than his outstanding fastball Walden features and curveball and changeup in his repertoire, but just like any high school pitcher, he is looking to refine his changeup and sharpen it as he enters the next stage of his career.

Walden, who compares himself to Josh Beckett, recently began thinking to himself he could accomplish his childhood dream of pitching in the major leagues.

"It was my sophomore year of high school and everything clicked for me," said the senior. "I just started getting really good and scouts began talking to me and noticing me more. It was at that point when I began thinking I can make it to a Division I college or even the pros if I continued working on my game."

One way or another Walden will be reaching one of those plateaus next fall. The right-handed hurler will either be pitching for the University of Texas or pitching in professional baseball.

"Texas is a real good school, filled with outstanding coaches and I loved it there the moment I saw it. It's a good baseball school and the school I dreamed of playing for."

Walden also dreams of playing in professional baseball and he will have a tough decision to make next June. Barring any setbacks, Walden's name will be mentioned along with the top collegiate players in the country within the first five selections. Having heard all the hype and talk about his right-arm, Walden is not concerning himself with that distraction. He will not think or talk about the draft until the time comes.

"Hopefully I get drafted and I can play in the major leagues," said Walden. "I'm not thinking about June right now."

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