Dodger Prospect #34 - RHP Josh Wall

Traditional baseball lore has it that taller pitchers take longer to develop, longer to get their mechanics in order to replicate motion and when you are 6-foot-6 and weigh 192, as Josh Wall is, that is what is holding back the the soon-to-be 23 year old.

Wall was selected in the second round of the 2005 draft after running up 14-1 record with an 0.93 ERA at Walker Private School in Baton Rouge, La. He struck out 138 batters in 83 innings -- just shy of 15 per nine innings -- while walking only 26. This earned him second-team high school All-American honors as chosen by Baseball America.

In high school the big guy was also a power hitter with 19 home runs as a senior but there was no thought of turning him into a first baseman, as they did so successfully with James Loney, because of his remarkable arm.

Between his junior and senior years in high school he participated in some showcase events and reached 95 on the gun at one, the scouts felt he would be a first-round draft choice.

However, his velocity began dropping off in his season year and it was assumed he would attend hometown LSU. The Dodgers, though, stuck with him, made him a second-round choice and signed him for close to $500,000.

The selection was the Dodgers own pick. Ivan DeJesus, Jr., also was a second-round choice taken with the pick obtained from the Seattle Mariners for signing third baseman Adrian Beltré.

He features a fast ball that has been clocked as high as 95 and usually rides in the 90-92 range and throws a sweeping curve that makes him effective against right-handed hitters plus he has a good straight change.

He signed late in 2005 and was assigned to the Gulf Coast League Dodgers, where he went 1-3, 3.86, with only five strikeouts in 14 innings. Pitching in tough luck he had a one-hitter for five innings only to lose, was bothered by a aching arm and was shut down.

Over the winter he worked hard to get into form, and reached 96 mph on the gun but the soreness returned and again drove him to the sidelines.

He rehabbed in extended camp and threw the ball extremely well. There was talk of pushing him up to Low-A Columbus but, instead, he was sent to Ogden.

He was inconsistent, with some games impressive game, some not so. He finished 3-5, 5.86 and was bothered by location problems, walking 33 while striking out 41 in 66 innings. Opposing hitters banged him about for a .305 average.

Still only 20, he was promoted to Great Lakes and finished 6-10, 4.18, fanning 103 and walking 48 over 24 starts and 129.1 innings. Opponents tagged him for a .269 average.

Among starters in the system, he was seventh in ERA and starts, ninth in strikeouts, strikeouts per nine innings and hits per nine innings, and ninth in walks and hits per nine innings.

His 2008 season was pretty much the same thing, posting a 9-6 record and although he had a pre-all-star game ERA of 5.37, he slid to a 7.26 over the second half to end up at 6.42.

He had trouble pitching out of the stretch, allowing a 1.31 ERA with the bases loaded in double figures with men on base. His control is still not where he wants it, having walked 63 and struck out 101.

He didn't show much improvement in second year in San Bernardino, finishing 5-8 with an ERA of just under 6.00. He had a solid 2.12 ERA in June over four starts but was thumped in every other month.

His strikeouts dipped from 101 (7.0) to 77 (6.2) and he allowed more hits per nine innings in 2009.

Wall still struggles with men on base, recording a 1.21 earned run average with the bases empty but ballooning up to 10.16 with runners on and a whopping 15.53 with runners inn scoring position.

He will turn 24 in January and the Dodgers are exercising great patience because he is blessed with great natural talent.

Like Tim Sexton, he will probably move up to Chattanooga and it will be a very important season for him.

His record:

RHP JOSH WALL   br  tr  6-6  192
Born-January 21, 1987 at Baton Rouge, LA
Obtained- Selected in second round, 2005

year	team   		w-l   era   gm  gs    in    h   bb   so
2005	GCLeague  	1-3   3.86   5   4   14.0   13   8    5
2006	Ogden		3-5   5.86  14  14   66.0   80  33   41
2008	GLakes  	6-10  4.18  26  24  129.1  136  48  103	
2008	InEmpire	9-6   6.28  27  25  129.0  152  63  101
2009	InEmpire	5-8   5.98  23  22  111.1  135  51   77
 Totals		      24-32  5.46  95  89  449.2  516 203  327