Prep baseball: Busy summer pays off for Pleasant Grove’s Walker
By Neil K. Warner
Special to The TribuneFirst published Sep 11 2013 01:49PM
Easton Walker can get lost in the shuffle of an active dugout.
He can be hard to identify in pre-game warmups, and the 5-foot-9, 160-pounder blends in like any other player when the team gets on the bus.
But all of that changes when he steps into the batter’s box or takes the mound. He has no trouble standing out when he ranges into the hole between shortstop and third base and guns down a runner at first base.
Walker, a junior shortstop/pitcher, has had a busy summer attending national showcases around the country, and he’s developed into one of Utah’s hottest baseball prospects as a result.
When college coaches were allowed to email potential recruits Sept. 1, he received emails from schools like USC, Stanford, BYU and Utah. His 3.87 grade-point average should help him keep open all of his Division I options.
"I’m going to wait and see what kind of offers that I get," Walker said.
"I think my family would like me to go to BYU. It’s close and they could have the chance to see me play, but I really like Eric Madsen at UVU and their program, and Utah has shown a lot of interest in me as well."
Walker also is intrigued by the chance to play at a warm weather school.
And playing for a school in the Pac-12 certainly would look good on a Major League draft resume.
Walker’s two older brothers both played college baseball — Braden at UNLV and Devin at Utah.
Walker said he has three trips planned to Arizona for different tournaments this fall and likely will make a decision on his future after his junior season.
"The main thing about Easton is his knowledge for the game and his work ethic," Pleasant Grove coach Darin Henry said. "I’ve never seen him not motivated."
The interest Walker has received has come from the most part because of his travel schedule.
He spent much of the summer trying to get as much exposure as possible.
He was one of two players from Utah invited to Perfect Game Junior National showcase in June, and he attended the Area Code tryouts in Las Vegas. His best performance came at the Northwest Championships when he pitched five innings and struck out 11 batters.
Walker has been Pleasant Grove’s starting shortstop since his freshman year, but he’s also emerged as a pitcher. His fastball has been clocked as high as 88 mph, but what makes him most effective is his ability to throw his fastball, curveball, slider and changeup for a strike at any time in the count.