Interviewer: Ryan Michael Falla (of Diamond Digest)
You may not have heard of him up until now, but Parker Walsh (of the Buford HS Wolves) is well on his way to making a name for himself. Not just within the high school circuit, but amongst the ranks of the many Major League hopefuls looking to enter the draft year after year. You may not see him grace the top of draft prospect lists being published across the country, yet that lack of recognition does little in keeping him from truly being one of the best young baseball players in America right now, rankings or not. Walsh dutifully executes the physical toolset necessary to rightfully solidify himself as one of the best high school prospects in the country and his mental acuity for the game elevates his abilities beyond what you would expect from an MLB hopeful, or in his case, an MLB eventual.
Parker Walsh made quite the splash for himself in his 2022 Senior season after abusing the local competition to the offensive tune of .460/.568/.782 across 113 PA’s. All in all, Walsh finished the season as the teams top hitter on a squad filled with D1 college commits, himself also being a D1 commit to Lafayette College (Easton, Pennsylvania). You’ll recognize some of his teammates names in the future as well given they all rank as potential MLB draftees; names such as Dylan Lesko (Vanderbilt), Riley Stanford (Georgia Tech), Jackson Gaspard (Georgia Tech), Kaden Martin (Miami), Brant Baughcum (Georgia Tech). It takes a mountain of effort to propel yourself to the top of the class amongst names such as these, yet Walsh has shown to possess both the work ethic and perseverance needed to catapult oneself to the position of leading the best of the best.
The tale of the tape speaks for itself; as long as Walsh continues along the path he has set for himself there is nothing stopping this torrid pace that will eventually seat him amongst the pantheon of the chosen few known as Major Leaguers.
Parker Walsh #21 (Buford HS)
Team Record: 28-10 (2022)
D.D: Your numbers are pretty off the wall at first glance; I’m curious to know what your approach was before the season that led to this amount of success.
Walsh: I was coming off a scaphoid bone injury over the off season (non-throwing hand). I injured myself towards the end of the summer so my routine was based around recovery. As soon as I got back into the flow of things I became more confident physically and into the season I felt myself getting hotter and hotter and from there it became “see-ball-hit-ball”. The way that I played through the year showed people who I am, I can play the game and I’m not just going to be some nobody on the team.
D.D: I like the attitude behind your motivations, how did you manage to maintain these motivations throughout your Senior season?
Walsh: It’s been a thing since the beginning of my high school experience, in the 9th grade I was just like any other kid playing on the freshman baseball team. Sophomore year I was on JV just following the path but junior year I was put on varsity. I never played, I got maybe 13 AB’s the entire season out of 30 to 40 games. Senior year I started off slow, I didn’t hit the way I wanted to early in the season but about a third of the way into the season I got the chance I needed and I started hitting the ball great. It was really easy for me to keep that motivation because I knew there was always a chance for me there if I worked hard enough. My brain is always set on “just keep going, something good will happen.”
D.D: How you feel after your success across the senior season?
Walsh: I feel amazing right now, coming off the season I was hitting .460, you know it was just barrel after barrel, I felt like I couldn’t miss a pitch. Of course there were times I would but those strikeouts here and there would remind you you’re not invincible and keep you on your toes. Right now it just feels like no one can stop me, it feels like I’m running through brick walls and showing people who Parker Walsh is and that’s an amazing feeling.
Season Best Hit Streak: 11 Games
Highest Single Game RBI Total: 5 RBIs (March 10th vs Longhorns Varsity)
There was no easy climb to the top for Parker Walsh, his high school career faced a slow start due to injury alongside the wall of uber-talents present on the Buford roster. This in itself offered the greatest challenge a young athlete could face early on. In Walsh’s young career he has already faced, and conquered, tremendous adversity, that which many others would rightfully falter under, professional athlete or not. The mark of a true Major League eventual is not the physical tools they carry, but the mental, and those who carry the most important tool of all, the dedication to overcome adversity, are all but set for the Major Leagues.
Walsh’s star studded Senior season has seen him amass both on-field and off-field accolades. A few of his on field achievements include stringing together a fantastic 11 game hit streak throughout which he collected 10 total RBIs with 15 Runs Scored. Across the season Walsh collected 10 multi-hit games in 36 total games, amounting to a multi-hit affair in nearly one in every 4 games. He also saw eight total multi-RBI games, the greatest of these being a 5 RBI affair. Not only is he dangerous at the plate, he is rather bothersome on the base paths for opposing defenses as well, amassing 7 total stolen bases to the tune of an 87.5% success rate. Amongst his own teammates Walsh was 3rd in stolen bases/stolen base rate and tied for 2nd in HR’s with 5, just one shy of tying for the team lead with 30 less AB’s than the team leaders.
The connections to the MLB run deep with Walsh, more specifically the LA Angels. Current Angels outfielder Brandon Marsh was drafted right out of Buford HS, former manager Joe Maddon is an alumni of Lafayette, and most notably the All-Star first baseman for the Angels, Jared Walsh, is an uncle to the young star. If Parker’s story is sounding familiar to you it’s because his uncle Jared Walsh too faced adversity in one of the greatest uphill climbs seen in the Angels organization. From 39th round draft pick to MLB All-Star, and it looks like Parker Walsh is aiming to create his own eventual success story. Even without the Jared Walsh connection it would be obvious too see that Parker Walsh has baseball in his bones, though through this relation you can easily see the physical and mental toolset needed to make it to the Majors is a mainstay within the Walsh DNA.
Stolen Bases: 7
Success Rate: 87.5%
D.D: Speaking on advice from Jared Walsh, did he have any to offer during your Senior season when you were playing baseball?
Walsh: At the beginning of the year I was struggling a little bit at the plate, it’s tough coming off an injury and thinking to yourself “I can’t do anything to help the team right now.” I reached out to Jared, I let him know how my swing felt and I broke down my mechanics for him a little bit. I worked with him over the phone just talking through things and he helped my mental side as well as my mechanics. Having Jared Walsh as your uncle helps [laughs]. He’s helped me throughout the season when I’d hit low points and all that, a lot of mentality help for sure.
D.D: We’ve been talking a bit about your on the field experience, but on another note I understand you’ve had coaching experience as well is that correct?
Walsh: That’s true! It went pretty good! In the fall when I was hurt from labrum surgery and a broken scaphoid bone I coached a team called the Halos. We’d take a bunch of pickup kids and play in tournaments in the fall, we’d play metal bat tournaments to get used to metal bats before the high school season. I was a big believer that you can have a hard time switching between metal and wood. To be able to see live pitching and be able to use a metal bat before high school would benefit a lot of these kids. I helped create a team with my father and it kind of took off, we had a bunch of kids we played with in prior years that were all about it. Our whole main goal was to have fun since the high school seasons are gonna be more strict and head coaches will be on you a little more, with this team it was more just get your swings in and play some defense, win a ball game or two. I think we ended up winning about seven tournaments over the two years.
The kids coming up would be committed [to college] by the eighth grade. We had probably six kids that were D1 commits out of the eighth grade. These kids destroyed full high school teams in the Gwinnett area. They were just having fun, it was about remembering why you love baseball.
D.D: So are you saying after Parker Walsh the MLB player we might see Parker Walsh the MLB coach?
Walsh: [laughs] I don’t know, Joe Maddon did go to Lafayette! I did always enjoy the side of coaching but I enjoy the side of playing a lot more, so that’s a question for a later day.
Parker Walsh #21 (Buford HS Wolves)
D1 College Commitment (Lafayette)
All in all you have everything you could want in a potential draftee with Parker Walsh; a solid outfielder with the speed to back up his pitchers, an unreal hitter with a draft ready toolset, and most importantly a fantastic teammate with the will to persevere through the densest adversities. Although he is committed to Lafayette, a Division 1 program, any team with the foresight to snatch up him in this years draft will be putting themselves ahead of the curve in terms of young talent acquisition. Whether or not Walsh goes in this year’s draft the picture has been painted loud and clear, Walsh is crafting his own success story as the consummate underdog on his way to accomplishments bigger than anyone but himself and those close to him could imagine. For all those amateur and professional MLB scouts out there, it’s up to you whether you want to take notice Parker Walsh’s success now or wait until he is smashing his way through the Minor League system on way to become an MLB All-Star for an organization other than your own.