Bowie's Young Is a Big Man With an Appetite for Home Runs
By Kathy Orton
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, April 10, 2004; Page D09
Walter Young doesn't look like your typical baseball player -- unless your typical baseball player is Cecil Fielder, Mo Vaughn or Frank Thomas.
With his 6-foot-5, 305-pound body, Young looks like he should be a defensive end. Instead, he is the Class AA Bowie Baysox' latest big-swinging sensation.
"Walter gives us [the Orioles' organization] a legitimate power hitting prospect -- something we haven't had," Baysox Manager Dave Trembley said.
Standing at the plate, the 24-year-old first baseman is at his most imposing. He engulfs the batter's box. In his hand, the bat appears the size of a toothpick. With minimal effort, he launches the ball into the atmosphere.
One other thing about players Young's size -- they love to swing for the fences. He thinks home run every time he steps to the plate.
"I'm a guy that loves to hit," Young said.
Pitchers are well aware of Young's love of the long ball, which is why patience and restraint will be the keys to his future success.
"At times, he wants to demonstrate that he can hit the ball 500 feet," Trembley said. "We just have to harness that a little bit. I think as long as Walter doesn't try to hit home runs, he's going to hit for average."
Young joined the Orioles' organization in November after Baltimore claimed him off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Drafted out of high school by the Pirates, he did well with Pittsburgh's organization. In 2002, he batted .333 and led the South Atlantic League in home runs (25) and hits (103) to earn league most valuable player honors. Last season, he was selected to the Carolina League all-star team after batting .278 with 20 home runs and 87 RBI. (He missed a month and a half of the season with a groin injury.) This is Young's first year in Class AA.
Some may question why a player his size chose baseball over football. But for Young, the answer is simple: He loves his sport.
"Not everybody believes that I belong" in baseball, Young said. "But once they come and see me play that all changes."
© 2004 The Washington Post Company