The KC Royals selected right-handed pitcher John Walter in the 29th round out of Penn State in 2012. His junior season was up-and-down, though he was great during his sophomore season (2.94 ERA in 79.2 innings to earn third team All-Big Ten honors).
According to the Perfect Game website, Walter threw a sneaky 86 mph during the summer while in high school. I have not seen him pitch in person to see if he has increased his velocity, but he has grown three inches to 6’5 and put on some weight (225). For a guy his size, scouts want him to be throwing harder, so he will really have to out-pitch everyone for promotions.
Walter started his career in 2012 with rookie level Burlington and only allowed 17 hits in 27.1 innings. He walked just seven while striking out 35 in picking up nine saves for the Royals.
The Royals held him back in 2013, as he did not get started until June. Walter was even better when he got started with Low-A Lexington, as opponents picked up just eight hits off him in 26.2 innings (.090 average). He only walked four while striking out 31 in picking up eight saves for the Legends.
Even though I have never seen Walter pitch, I have a soft spot for him. Being from South Jersey (Haddonfield) like myself, it is easy to root for him. Players from this area are often overlooked because of the cold weather and lesser competition (teams were even skeptical from the beginning with Mike Trout). He went to instructional league this fall, so hopefully he continued to open the eyes of the Royals brass.
I figure Walter will start the 2014 season back with the Legends, but before long will be pitching in High-A Wilmington with tons of family and friends in attendance.