Wall Moving Along At A Slower Pace

There is a tendency with some of the more prized prospects in the Dodger organization to push them ahead rapidly. Let them have some success at one level, then quickly challenge them at the next. With some others though, the pace is not as swift. That doesn't mean they won't arrive on schedule and perform as hoped. That may well be the case with Josh Wall.

Wall is a 6-6, 190-pound righthander who has the look of someone special. Still, he's had his ups and downs even though he's only at the beginning of his first full year in the system. But it was that way for him even as an amateur.

Between his junior and senior years in high school he participated in some showcases and performed admirably. When he reached 95 on the gun at one, the scouts were all taking notice and it was widely bandied about that he was a first-round draft choice the next year.

However, back home in Baton Rouge for his senior season his velocity began dropping off . As that continued, some scouts shied away, particularly since another rumor got about that he'd attend his hometown baseball hotbed, LSU. The Dodgers, though, stuck with him, made him a second-round choice and signed him for close to $500,000.

So it was that last summer he began as a pro with the Gulf Coast team. Pitched splendidly at the start, then began having some problems as his arm started aching. With his record 1-3, 3.86, he was backed off and placed in rehab. No operation was called for but he didn't pitch the rest of the summer.

In the winter he worked hard to get into form, so much so that he was able to reach 96 mph on the gun just before camp. Alas, it might have been a case of too much, too soon for he soon had soreness again and had to spend more time on the sidelines.

He got back into action in the extended camp where he once more threw the ball with style. In fact, it was hard to find anybody else who threw it as well. There was talk of pushing him up to Columbus but, instead, he was held back and dispatched to Ogden.

Here, it's been the same as usual. Some games have been impressive, some not so. He's currently 1-2 with a 4.11 ERA with the problem being location more than anything for he's walked 15 while striking out only 13 in 30 innings.

So, there's another challenge at hand and they're working on that. His fast ball has life, his curve is coming along well and he's got a feel for the change. He should fill out and be much stronger physically. He's only 19 so everyone who's associated with him is encouraged.

The pace may not be as swift as some would like but, hey, there's time and he could become special. There's some pitching talent at Ogden and he's right at the forefront .