Introducing 2011 Draft Pick Mitchell Walding

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to talk with shortstop Mitchell Walding, who was drafted by the Phillies in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. There weren’t many scouting reports on him, so my interview with him was more about getting to know Walding as a player. After the jump, Walding discusses his experience being drafted, his abilities on the field, and a potential move to third base.

PhightingOn: You’re new to the organization, and coming out of the 2011 draft fans may not know much about you. What’s your style of game, and what can fans expect to see from you?

Mitchell Walding: I feel my style of game is quite unique. I am a person that absolutely hates to lose and I’m extremely competitive, always wanting to be the guy to make the big play and be a game changer.

PO: What do you think your biggest strength is?

MW: I’d say my biggest strength is being able to hit the ball to the opposite field very well.  I can spread my hits throughout the whole field.

PO: How about your biggest weakness? What are you doing to improve it?

MW: My biggest weakness was my power. I Never really had a lot of home runs because I wasn’t too strong [in high school], however this offseason I’ve already went [in size] from 185 to 205 pounds by working in the weight room, and I still have another month and a half of lifting!

PO: How did it feel when you first found out that you had been drafted by the Phillies in the fifth round?
MW: When I heard my name called it was an unbelievable feeling! It was my childhood dream come true, and it almost didn’t seem real. I was extremely happy that I was drafted by such a great organization, and was just blown away at that moment, I remember thinking to myself, “This is really happening” and was just too happy. I Felt truly blessed!

PO: Before the draft, you committed to play at the University of Oregon, why did you decide to instead sign with the team?
MW: I decided to sign with the Phillies because I knew that they were one of the top organizations to be in as a minor leaguer, and I knew they’d train me to be an exceptional ball player. Also the financial aspect was too good to pass up.

PO: Who was your favorite baseball player growing up, and why?
MW: My favorite baseball player growing up was Derek Jeter, because he was a playmaker day in and day out. He’s the type of player you knew in one swing can win the game but was also so defensively sound that he’d make plays that would wow you. Derek is so well rounded that it made me want to be like him growing up.
PO: Which current MLB player would you compare yourself to and why?

MW: There are actually two players I feel like I’m like. First is the Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, because we have a similar body type and play shortstop. Second is Chase Utley because he is the person i model my swing after.  His swing is short and compact straight to the ball.  I’d have to say that I’m kind of a mix between the two.

PO: You’re a bigger player, at 6’4 205, and scouting reports indicate that you can hit with power. With your size and hitting, do you see yourself staying at shortstop, or do you think you’ll move to third base at some point?

MW: I realize 6’4 is not the typical size for a shortstop, and I have already started to learn third base a bit.  If i continue to play shortstop that’d be great but playing third is fine too.  Whatever gets me to the Big Leagues faster is ultimately what it comes down to.

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