Originally posted on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 4/12/13
Lakewood 3B Mitch Walding, photo- Jay Floyd Phillies 5th round draft choice from 2011, Mitch Walding, is off to a solid start to the  regular season this year with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws.  Walding, a 3rd baseman, has gone 9-for-28 (.321 avg) with two doubles and six RBI through eight games thus far against South Atlantic League competition. The lefty batting Lodi, CA native made his pro debut last season with the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters, posting a .233 batting average along with 10 doubles, three triples, a homer and 31 RBI in 60 games. After playing in the Florida Instructional League last year as well, the six-foot-three 190-pounder came into spring training this year, ready to make an impact and made his full season team debut last week. I spoke with the 20-year-old Walding recently about his his draft experience, his time as a pro thus far and plenty more.  Read ahead to check out the full interview. - In 2011, you were a 5th round draft pick.  I just wanted to get you to take me through your draft experience and talk about how you were tracking the draft, how did you learn the Phillies drafted you and how did you celebrate? I was at my grandmother’s house with all my family and friends.  I knew I wasn’t probably gonna go the first day, I knew I was gonna go anywhere from four to, anywhere to round 15. We were just kind of sitting there and waiting and we came down and I didn’t really think I was gonna get picked that day, ’cause I was the last pick of that day, or whatever, on TV, and all of a sudden it kind of just happened. They called my name and my whole family was excited and kind of jumping around. Everyone was stoked. It was a great time. You can’t really explain it. It was a great time. Everyone was full of excitement. -  You had some solid output for a guy making his pro debut last year.  How did you feel about your performance with Williamsport in 2012? In the beginning of the season, I was doing very, very well. I was just super hot and doing very well. And towards the middle and end, I struggled and kind of fell off of what I was originally doing, but I think the good thing about last season was seeing what my potential could be and just knowing that I can (play) at a high level and, if I can maintain that, I can post some really good numbers. It was just a good learning experience. You learn so many things in your first year, handling failure, playing every day and the grind. Last season was a (very) beneficial season for me. it may not have been the greatest season, but it was something that you learn from and there were so many things I took from that season. - Who has been the biggest help to you within the Phils organization? I think so far, probably my biggest help has been Andy Tracy. He was my manager last year and he’s able to talk you through the ups and downs, you know, what he thought I was doing wrong with hitting wise or fielding wise. But, aside from that, if there was anything I ever needed, he was always there.  And he always knew the right things to say, I feel like, at the time. He was just always (offering) positive encouragement and let’s you know everything’s going to be cool and what you’re doing good and what you need to work on. - A lot of this team played for Andy last year on the Williamsport team. Do you think that can be advantageous to the core  of this team this year, having already gelled and worked together for the most part? Oh, definitely. It’s always nice having, basically, the same guys back. You’re able to gel more as a team. It’s like a college team. In college, the more years they’re together, they’re driven by more than just a selfish play-for-myself kind of thing, which can kind of happen in the minor leagues, when everybody’s playing for the same job. You know, here it’s like everyone’s each other’s buddy. And so, when everyone’s playing for each other, it makes a bigger connection, with more stuff on the line, and I think that’s what we have here, a huge team bond. Everyone likes each other and gels well. - I know you’re a California guy. What pro players did you look up to as a youngster? When I was very, very young, I was always a big Derek Jeter fan. I wore the number 2 and I was a shortstop. As I got older, I was a big Troy Tulowitzki fan. Not too many California guys, for some reason I was always an out-of-state fan. But, those are the two guys I always enjoyed watching. - Definitely a good pair. And I want to see if you’ve got another good pair of names to share. We spoke of you spending last season and all of spring training this year with this core group of guys. Who are the most entertaining guys on this Lakewood roster? The most entertaining guys…I don’t know. That’s tough. I would say the biggest joker on the team, as in funny wise, is Nic Hanson. Him of Tyler Greene. One or the other. They’re some goofballs. - Okay, so let’s get some examples. What are Nic and Tyler doing to be the comedians of the group? Just the things that come out of their mouths. I don’t know how to explain it. Nic will have some of the dumbest things you’ve ever heard come out of his mouth, just because he’s a southern California guy. Greene, it’s just his actions. He does some dumb stuff, action wise. It’s hard to explain, just kind of the stuff that Nic says, his reasoning. He’ll say stuff and the reasons behind why he thinks certain things are and they’re the dumbest reasonings you’ll ever hear.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: K-State players storm student section after big win

Tony Dungy coaches his way into Canton

Top eight takeaways from NFL Honors awards

Report: Austin Rivers out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

Brett Favre Hall of Fame discussion took less than 10 seconds

WATCH: Pop wishes Kobe well in heartfelt message

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Eric Berry named NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Cam Newton to be named NFL MVP

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Another star confirmed for Super Bowl 50 halftime show

WATCH: Wayne Simmonds loses his cool, earns match penalty

Winners and losers from 2016 Hall of Fame vote

Brett Favre, Tony Dungy headline Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Terrell Owens says he was not elected to Hall of Fame

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker