On Friday I got the opportunity to ask Mariners 2B/SS prospect Donnie Walton some questions. Donnie who is 25 years old was drafted in the 5th round by the Seattle Mariners out of Oklahoma State university. Walton is the 24th ranked prospect in the Mariners organization according to MLB.com and #28 according to Baseball America.
Who was your favorite player growing up and why?
My favorite player growing up was Chipper Jones. I wanted to be a switch hitting infielder just like him. I also liked how he made the game look so easy.
What was it like trying to find an agent?
Jay Franklin who is my agent now saw me my sophomore year. He liked the way I played and thought I had a future. So he contacted my dad. He was the first one that believed in me at a young age so I went with him.
When did you realize you had a chance of getting drafted?
Well in high school I knew I was good enough to play college baseball but didn’t know about the draft. I got drafted out of high school, So I knew I had a chance of getting drafted out of college.
How did you feel going through the draft process and your evaluations from scouts?
I just was very thankful for the opportunity and it was a dream come true I really didn’t think to much into it. I just wanted to show them I could play SS at the highest level.
What were the best and worsts parts about playing college baseball?
I don’t think there are any bad parts. I love college baseball and it is still the best time I’ve had on a baseball field besides the few big league games I’ve played in. One bad thing would be the scholarship offers the coaches get to use. I think they should be able to give out more scholarships.
How did your Dad’s decision to leave Oral Roberts for OSU to be the pitching coach impact you decision for what college you went to?
It was difficult. Honestly, I made the decision to go because Josh Holiday told me “We want your dad here but we want you to come with him as well”. That pretty much sold me.
What was the hardest part of going from a college campus to a minor league associate?
The hardest part is making adjustments on your own and on the fly. In college you have your hitting coach with you during the week to get you ready for the weekend. In pro ball you have to get yourself ready and be able to make adjustments day to day.
What are your thoughts on advanced stats?
I dont really look into the stats I’m more old school. Keeping it simple
What has been the best minor league affiliate and why?
I don’t know if their is a best one for me. I can only say that the Mariners have been great. Every team feels like a college environment. The Mariners have been a great organization to play in.
What has been the best experience of your baseball career?
So far it has been making it to Omaha my senior year in college. Just how are team got over the hump after getting beat out in regionals the years before. Also, Making it to the big leagues. It just showed me that all that hard work pays off. I just need to keep grinding to stay up there.
How has your dad being a coach at the collegiate level affected you as a player?
My dad is the reason why I am where I am today. He sacrificed so much time of his time to help me become the player I am today. He was so liked by my teammates that it made it easier for me to be who I am. He treated me like the rest of the team. Players respected that so it never caused any problems and I am very thankful for my dad.
What was you welcome to the big leagues moment?
My welcome to the big leagues moment would probably be my second at bat against Sonny Gray I struck out on the 8th pitch of the at bat and it was a two seamer that started at me and ended on the outside corner. I have never seen a ball move that much. I scratched my head after that one.