Q&A with Michigan State Commit Zaid Walker
September 19, 2016
By Matt Huck
2018 OF Zaid Walker of Homewood-Flossmoor recently committed to Michigan State. Walker is currently ranked No. 4 in Illinois and No. 87 in the Overall Ranks. He recently stood out for Team Illinois at the 2016 PBR Future Games. Here is a report on Walker from the event.
Future Games 2016 - 6-foot-1, 200-pound right-handed hitting outfielder, athletic build, proportional strength with room for continued growth; strong quick-twitch athlete. During Thursday’s positional workout, separated himself with his high-level tools and offensive prowess. Offensively, generates elite bat speed with his hands, maintains excellent balance throughout, level, line-drive swing with power potential; had one of the top overall BP rounds during the positional workout. Registered 96 mph exit velocity and ran a 6.76 laser-timed 60, powerful strider, speed has steadily improved over the years. Defensively, relatively new to the outfield, still figuring out the nuances of the position after transitioning from third base. Possesses plus arm strength, 92 mph from the outfield. Overall, should become a high-follow draft prospect in the 2018 class.
PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?
Walker: The recruiting process started off easy, but as I started to attend more events, more college coaches started to show interest, and it became more difficult. I didn't expect the process to be as hard in the beginning.
PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?
Walker: I was looking for a college where I can get a great education. Also, a great coaching staff and a place where I can see myself playing, developing and having success.
PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?
Walker: No, but I wanted my parents to attend games, so that is easier since MSU is close to home.
PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?
Walker: I started to receive a ton of interest from schools after the Cangelosi College camp and it really started to heat up after Future Games.
PBR: Where did the college you chose first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?
Walker: The first time they saw me play was at Grand Park in Indianapolis last fall. We started to talk shortly after that tournament and quickly built a great relationship. I enjoyed being around all of the coaches when I visited in the winter and they were my favorite coaching staff that I had met.
PBR: What do you like most about the college you committed to and what were the key factors in making your decision?
Walker: Aside from it being one of the top schools for my major and having success as a baseball program, I really have a lot of respect for the coaching staff. They took a sincere interest in getting to know me outside of baseball which was important . They were very sincere and honest in how they saw me fitting into their program.
PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?
Walker: Mizzou, Xavier, Maryland, Indiana, and Illinois.
PBR: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college caliber player and became serious about taking your game to the next level?
Walker: When I was 13, I started to surround myself with coaches that have a lot of experience at a high level. They helped me develop as a player and a person.
PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?
Walker: Learn the game and never give up, because the game only gets harder. Never be satisfied and play every game like it is your last. Most importantly, have fun.
PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?
Walker: Playing in the AABC World Series in Puerto Rico when I was 12. Got the chance to compete with high level programs and the opportunity to meet kids from all over the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
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