Sparty on!

Junior outfielder Walker commits to Michigan State

Bryce Stiff, Sports writer

Approximately 0.5 percent of high school senior boys playing interscholastic baseball will eventually be drafted by an MLB team, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

It’s early September, and junior baseball player Zaid Walker’s has already increased his odds of making it big.

Committing to a school is a very important step and goal in any high school athlete’s life. Committing to a major D1 college without even completing four years of your sport is a great accomplishment and was a tough decision for Walker.

The 6’2, 195 pound, right-handed outfielder committed to Michigan State University on Sept. 9th.
Although multiple schools offered him, he knew Michigan State was the best fit after being in contact with their coaches for awhile now.

“It is a place where I know I can start as a freshman. It is in a great conference and has the number one program in the country for my major,” Walker said.

Although junior athletes all around school are playing at a high level, like Justin Hall (football) and Kyle O’Shea (soccer), Walker is the first junior athlete to commit to a college this year.

Playing up his first two years was a success and has prepared him to take over the team this season and continue to make a huge impact for the Vikings.

“I know he’s going to work very hard being committed to such a big school, and I plan on him being a leader for this program,” varsity head coach Todd Sippel said. “I knew it was a lot of D1 schools after him. They love his body type and potential, so I’m not surprised he committed.”

With two years left of high school baseball, Walker had eight offers, which insured him that he would be playing Division I baseball in college. He is a coveted player with strengths in hitting and a strong arm. He is ranked fourth in Illinois and 88th in the entire nation.

“Indiana, Maryland, Xavier, WIU, EIU, Illinois, Mizzou and ISU,” Walker said when speaking on the plethora of schools that were interested.

He is also known as a reliable teammate throughout the clubhouse, which boosts his credibility even more as a person and a player.

“He is a very talented player, and his drive and passion for baseball spreads to everyone around him. He leads by the way he plays the game,” junior outfielder Kyle Salley said. “When he’s out there in the outfield with me, it’s good to know I have someone I can count on who plays hard.”

In baseball, unlike basketball and football, after completing high school, players are eligible to be selected in the MLB First Year Player Draft that takes place in June.

The most recent selection from H-F was right handed pitcher Malcolm Grady, who ended up going to college instead of straight to the MLB.

“I talked to a Tampa Bay Rays scout in the summer. On [Thursday] I went to a tournament known for having the most MLB scouts in attendance out of any event in the country,” Walker said. “Possibly I would consider it, but I don’t know if I will be ready in a year and a half. It is something I’d have to think about as I mature as a player.”