Lancaster, California —— Forrest Wall, the Colorado Rockies’ #10 prospect, is out for the rest of the season after dislocating his left (non-throwing) shoulder during a game with the Lancaster JetHawks earlier this month.
Wall was playing center field in a road game at Inland Empire on May 2 when, in the bottom of the first inning, he made a diving catch in right-center and came up injured. He was removed from the game immediately, and placed on the disabled list the next day. Per a source, Wall has since opted for surgery to repair the shoulder injury. His timetable for recovery will most likely keep him out of action for the remainder of the season.
“[Wall] was playing the game the right way, he was playing hard, but man, we’ve been together four years now,” Rockies outfielder Wes Rogers told Baseball Census on Wednesday afternoon in Lancaster. “It’s sad to see him go out like that. But it happens. It’s a part of baseball.”
“I’ve been on FaceTime and keeping in contact with him, and he has no regrets about anything,” Rogers continued. “He’s the same old goofball kid. He’ll be fine.”
Forrest Wall has had trouble in the past with his throwing shoulder—he had surgery on his right labrum as a prep star in 2011—but this is also a particularly bad blow for the Colorado Rockies’ well-regarded prospect. The 2017 season was to be a critical one for the second baseman-turned-center fielder, who was repeating High-A after an underwhelming .264/.329/.355/.684 slash line over 120 games with the Modesto Nuts in 2016.
For his part, before the injury, Wall had been excited about the prospect of being a team leader in Lancaster and was undaunted about being held back for a second year at High-A while adjusting to a new role in the outfield.
“This is a new group of guys, and it’s an opportunity for me to be a leader, having been here before and having played in these ballparks,” Wall had told Baseball Census a week before his injury, in an interview for an unrelated piece that was supposed to run today. “I’m trying to be the leader of the team and get myself and everybody else better. And I have a lot of confidence here. I’m familiar with this league, and how they pitch you in this league, and that gives me a lot of confidence at the plate.”
It was a small stretch, but Wall had flashed more comfort at the plate before that May 2 game, with eight hits in the four games immediately before his injury. His 2017 season will end now on a slash line of .299/.361/.471/.832 with four doubles and three home runs in 87 at-bats—a small sample size, to be sure, but a step in the right direction after a tough 2016 season that saw him slide down prospect lists amid questions about his throwing arm, defensive future, and hit tool.
Wall had been better balanced at the plate this year compared to his 2016 campaign, with a more patient approach and an encouraging ability to track the ball and read off-speed pitches out of the hand. The Colorado Rockies’ prospect was also taking well to center field—despite persistent questions about his arm strength—where his range and athleticism made him a good fit for the position in patrolling the vast expanses of some of the Cal League’s ballparks.
“Having the game experience out in center field was big for him this year,” Rogers concluded. “He did a good job adjusting to being an outfielder.”
“I know who I am, and how hard I work,” the 21-year-old Wall had said before the injury. “Every time I step on the field, I know that I’ve worked hard enough and prepared well enough, and I just want my ability to show.”
Now, it appears Forrest Wall will have to wait another year to show that ability.
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