Scottsdale, Ariz. -- The Colorado Rockies may have drafted themselves a steal when the selected Forrest Wall (No. 11 PuRP) with their CBA pick in 2014. All the Florida native has done since entering pro ball is hit, and he finds himself a career .295/.381/.455 hitter after two seasons. That's more than enough at the plate for his likely future at second base or, due to arm concerns, center field.
The book on Wall is fairly well known already—at least, as much as it can be for a player two seasons into his career—both by our prospect writers, and those elsewhere around the game. One particular scouting report I immediately flagged after looking back on my observations on the second baseman comes from prospect writer David Hood.
Writing about Wall after the Rockies drafted him nearly two full calendar years ago, Hood seemed skeptical by the high schooler's physical makeup, noting two points worth expanding upon in the following passage (emphasis mine):
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.
Remember, of course, that Hood is writing this nearly two years ago when Wall was still a teenager who hadn't yet played an inning of professional baseball. That is to say that Hood is not wrong about his analysis; I only bring it up here because I think in the last two summers, Wall has significantly addressed two specific things in this passage that are worth noting (and both are more or less visible in the video above).
The first interesting point of Hood's early analysis of the then-high school star is something virtually every high schooler will struggle through; Wall "is a little noisy and he can get out on his front foot a little early." Sure. Show me an 18-year-old who doesn't do that from time to time!
In the last two years, as he should have, Wall appears to have addressed that significantly. One way I can tell is the over exaggerated step-back stride he's using in the batting practice video (above). It's very similar—perhaps even more exaggerated—to Roberto Ramos' negative stride that we've examined earlier this month. I observed Wall hitting in three different intrasquad scrimmages over the past month, too, and his step-back isn't as exaggerated in games as it's shown in this clip, but it certainly is a focal point for him. It seems like a way to ensure his weight stays back and his hips gain momentum to explode through the baseball, which Hood notes was a problem for him before (though, granted, you can even see him flying forward from time to time in the video).
Second, Hood's note that Wall is "a little slight of frame despite a listed height of 6'1" has been addressed; more than any other minor leaguer I've watched this spring, Wall surprised me the most with a notably thick build, especially in his lower body. To see Wall on video, or in pictures, doesn't quite do him justice—it's possible he put on a good deal of lower body muscle this winter, now exposing it for the organization to see—but especially in his lower half, Wall is built like a tank. Or a linebacker. Or a catcher. (Insert strong-legged stereotype here.)
He seems built to hit, plays taller than he probably really is, and looks, at least now, like he undoubtedly has the muscle and strength to withstand a full season of baseball—something he wasn't able to do last summer in Asheville despite his strong numbers. Wall's probably never going to become a power hitter, especially in Coors Field's cavernous outfield alleys, but with a strong lower half like this and still speed to burn, it's not a stretch to dream on him as a future doubles machine.
Wall has a few levels still to best, and even watching these clips you can see him falling out of balance and wasting his leg drive as he corkscrews into the ground on certain swings, but he, like Dom Nunez, is one of those sweet-swinging lefties certainly worth the excitement that's made him such a well-regarded prospect nationally. Wall has worked out with the High-A Modesto group all spring; expect him to begin the year in the California League, then, and get one step closer to the ultimate goal.
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