Forrest Wall Improves On Both Sides Of Ball
Center fielder Forrest Wall quickly made up for lost time.
He played 22 games for high Class A Lancaster last year and hit .299/.361/.471 before he separated his left (non-throwing) shoulder while diving for a ball. Season-ending surgery resulted from the injury.
"The worst part about it, outside of the injury, was you could see he was starting to turn a major corner offensively," farm director Zach Wilson said.
The 22-year-old Wall returned to Lancaster, hit .305/.382/.453 in 47 games with 20 stolen bases and 43 runs scored and was promoted to Double-Hartford.
"There was a better pitch recognition,” Wilson said. "There was a better balance between aggressiveness and patience. When he was swinging, he wasn’t missing, and he was using the middle of the field much, much better as opposed to getting out in front of all kinds of pitches and just yanking and pulling.”
Wall played second base at Orangewood Christian High in Florida when the Rockies made him a supplemental first-round pick in 2014. He had right labrum surgery as a prep and could not handle the position in pro ball. Walls's conversion to center field began in instructional league in 2016.
Wilson said based on Wall’s offense, he could have moved the lefthanded hitter to Hartford a couple weeks sooner than he did, but he wanted him to focus on "being ultra aggressive” every single play. Specifically, Wilson stressed how the best outfielders aggressively get to a spot and make plays look easy, rather than cool because they’re catching balls on the run and often on the last possible step.
When he gets behind the ball and uses leverage and his lower half, Wall can show a solid-average arm. His accuracy is sufficient and improving.
"He’s gotten a lot better in center field, which is ultimately why we moved him,” Wilson said. "But he’s not a finished product out there either. This is still less than two years into this, so he’s got work to do. But he’s showing that instinctually he’s able to do a lot. He’s also showing that through challenging himself and us challenging him, he’s able to improve.”
Nine First-Round Picks Left Unprotected In First Year Of Rule 5 Eligibility
In total, 27 percent of eligible first round picks from the 2014/2015 drafts were unprotected.
>> Righthander David Hill, who didn’t pitch in 2017 after undergoing surgery in August 2016 to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome, made his 2018 debut with Lancaster in early June, nearly two years after his last start for high Class A Asheville.
>> Wall’s move triggered the promotion of outfielder Steven Linkous to Lancaster from Asheville where he hit .296/.387/.370 in 24 games.