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General | Blog | 10/3/2019

Age Just a Number for Walton

Blake Dowson        
Photo: TayShaun Walton (Perfect Game)
TayShaun Walton stands out.

He is one of those athletes, who before you even see him swing or play catch, when you’re just looking at him standing around with his teammates, you can’t help but think to yourself, “Whoa, who is that guy?”

Playing in his last game of the 2019 WWBA Sophomore World Championship against 5 Star National 2022 Burress, the eventual champions of the tournament, Walton was the most intimidating presence on the field.

Makes sense, considering up to that point in the tournament he was hitting .500 for the weekend with six RBI and five stolen bases, and also looks like a Division I running back.

What didn’t make sense was the fact that Walton is 14 years old, playing against the top 15-year-olds in the country, a gap in age when each year of development is so drastic and important.

Walton loves that gap, though.

“Playing up is better,” he said. “The competition is a little easier when I go back down. [The biggest difference] is velo on the mound.”

He’s right about that. The class average fastball velocity for his 2023 class is 72 mph (Walton has been up to 88 mph on the mound), and the 2022 class average is 76 mph.

Walton has feasted on 2023 pitching throughout his career, and has earned the No. 5 overall prospect ranking (and the top outfield prospect) for his class because of that.

He has hit well at just about every Perfect Game event he has attended, which is becoming a long list already. A .455 average at the Sophomore World Championship just last week, a .357 average at the WWBA 2022 Grads National Championship, a 99 mph exit velocity at the 14u National Showcase, which topped the event. The list continues.

Walton is listed at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds. He’s been working on that frame for a long, long time.

Whatever you’re thinking, think younger. Keep going.

“I actually started [working out] when I was like 3 years old,” Walton said. “Push-ups, sit-ups. I had these cones that I would run drills with, I didn’t like that at all.”

His father has always pushed him. He wants TayShaun to be the best he can possibly be.

In return, TayShaun now sees that this baseball thing could really be an avenue to help his family out in the future. That motivates him. That keeps him in the weight room. That makes those cone drills worth it in the end.

Walton isn’t concerned in getting to that end product too quickly, though. He said he likes the process.

He lit up when he talked about his swing, and how it’s not where he wants it to be.

“Right now I’m not using my legs enough,” he explained. “My swing is a lot of arms. So I want to work on that a lot right now.”

How do you fix that? Where do you get ideas?

“I just watch people,” he said. “I don’t want to be like them. I just watch them. I want to be myself. But guys like Cody Bellinger, when he swings he uses his legs. So I watch how he swings sometimes.”

Walton watches a lot of the guys he’s playing against. That’s part of the fun of playing in big tournaments like the WWBA Sophomore World Championship, and he’ll be playing in the WWBA Freshman World Championship in West Palm Beach a week from now as well.

It’s not lost on him that he’s playing against some of the best baseball players in the country at their respective age levels.

“It’s really crazy. There are a lot of people here,” he said at the Sophomore Worlds. “When I look on the PG website and I look at everybody’s grades, I’m like, ‘Wow, there’s a lot of talent here.’ So I’m just trying to fit in.”

But, of course, he doesn’t fit in. Walton sticks out like a sore thumb. He was one of the more put-together players at the Sophomore Worlds despite the fact that he was a year younger than almost every other player at the tournament.

Crowds tended to gather around when he dug into the batter’s box. And it’s not just college coaches wanting to get a peek at the 14-year-old that has hit the ball nearly 100 mph off his bat before.

Other players on different teams seemed to take notice when Walton had a bat in his hands.

“Hey, that Walton dude is up.” And suddenly personal space sitting behind home plate is invaded by a bunch of people who want to watch him swing.

Walton loves it.

“I like playing with a target on my back,” he said. “It’s competition. Say you’re hitting against a pitcher with a 9.5 PG grade, one of the top pitchers in the country. I like that. Because he thinks he’s better than me. So I’ve got to show him that I can play, too.”

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