The Colorado Rockies selected high school second baseman Forrest Wall with the 35th overall pick in the 2014 MLB draft - the first pick in the Competitive Balance Round A. Wall is a second baseman known for his lefty bat and above average speed. He has plus power for a second baseman and as many of us know, the position has been a tough one for the Rockies to fill over the years.
The first comparison for Wall out of Peter Gammon's mouth for Colorado's second pick (35th overall) was Chase Utley, so there is that.
The pick was universally applauded on the MLB Network set, though they've been pretty positive across the board. Still, they called Wall one of the top three high school bats in the draft and if he does end up being anything close to Chase Utley (after some seasoning of course) then this is a great pick for the purple pinstripes.
Wall matches the strategy the Rockies followed last season that seems to be working out so far by taking a college pitcher with their first pick (last year Jon Gray, this year Kyle Freeland) and a high-ceiling high school bat with their second pick (last year Ryan McMahon, this year Wall). If he signs, Wall will likely start his professional career in Grand Junction.
So far this looks like a pretty solid draft for the Colorado Rockies.
Here are some thoughts from David Hood (AKA David OhNo) on Wall:
Forrest Wall was not a guy I expected to write up tonight because I expected him to go in the back of round two. Wall comes from the mold of recent picks like Arenado, McMahon, and Trevor Story; "next tier" high school bats that don't have the one loud tool or easy projection. Wall is available at pick 35 because of a couple of arm injuries, one that has led him to 2nd base, where he's likely to stay career-wise, with a fallback of centerfield (with minus arm) if need be, but not as likely.
Wall is going to hit. His set up is a little noisy and he can get out on his front foot a little early, but Wall exhibits plus bat speed and the ability to barrel balls. He's a little slight of frame despite a listed height of 6'1, but the bat speed gives him the chance for solid to above average pop, a plus from second base. Wall also exhibits plus, usable speed, making him a threat on the bases and a high triples number candidate in Coors Field. Wall also shows solid actions in the field, giving him a solid grade on his glove.
The biggest knock on Wall is the arm strength, which again, limits him to second base. It does give him some bust potential, because he's not going to have the power to kick over to first. Wall's swing can get a little big, and he will pull his front shoulder out trying to pull the ball. The swing itself isn't textbook, and you are betting on the bat speed and his eye for hit projection. He will mature naturally, but his frame doesn't look conducive to more weight.
Like the Rockies draftees listed above, I expect Wall to announce himself loudly to the prospect world with his bat in the early minors. How much power he develops will be the difference in whether Wall projects (in best case) as a future All Star at 2B, or more a speedy table setter at the major league level. Risk of high school selection coupled with the injury history bears watching, but it's hard to find fault with the selection. Wall should find his way onto most top 10 Purp Lists by season's end.