Our goal here at Royals Farm Report is to keep you informed and updated on the players in the Royals minor league system. That way, when they make their debuts in Kansas City, Royals fans can be up to date on their favorite Royals prospects.
Part of that process, as always, is interviewing these players so that you can become more familiar with them personally, as well as in the game. We were lucky enough to land an interview with budding reliever Walker Sheller.
Sheller spent the 2017 season bouncing around the minors between Low-A, High-A, and AA. Over 62.1 combined IP, Sheller posted an ERA of 3.18, a WHIP of 1.28, 66 K and only 26 BB. His K:BB ratio of 33:13 may be the most encouraging sign from Sheller, showing good command for a 22-year old reliever.
Check out Drew Osborne’s “Prospect Watch” on Sheller here.
Alright. Enough with that stuff. Enjoy the interview!
Q: What pitch would you say is your best pitch?
Sheller: “I’d say for anyone who pitches it’s a well-located fastball. But as far as breaking pitches go, for me it’s definitely my slider.”
Q: How do you prepare yourself before every game, never knowing what the game situation will dictate for you?
Sheller: “I kinda learned how to prepare myself in college and high school. It’s a mentality really. Anyone can do it it’s just all about how you handle it. I think it’s all mental. You have to be able to turn on that competitive gear at any point in time. It’s different than starting when you have all week to mentally prepare. As a reliever you have to be able to flip the switch when they call your name.”
Q: Right-handed hitters (RHH) had more success against you at Wilmington than they typically do against you. What adjustments do you think RHH made against you at High-A?
Sheller: “Any time you move up a level, everything you do has to be more polished. There’s less room for mistakes at every level. Everyone has scouting reports now so they know more and more about what you have. You have to go right at hitters and not tinker around with em. One big thing I learned was how to beat people in the zone with my best stuff.”
Q: You had a taste of AA ball at Northwest Arkansas at the end of the season, what did you think of (Pitching Coach) Coach Luebber?
Sheller: “I worked with him a lot 1-1 and then had more time with him at instructs (Instructional League). Me and (Richard) Lovelady had a lot of time with him. I love that he treats players like adults and gives players some freedom. He lets you do what works until it doesn’t work anymore and then offers assistance to fix it. The way he goes about helping pitchers is exceptional. He’s got so much experience and knowledge from being around for a while, he’s seen it all.”
Q: What about your game do you feel has the best chance to carry you to KC?
Sheller: “Personally I think my attitude will carry me. If you meet me outside of the game I can be the nicest person in the world. When the game starts I’m a totally different person. I hate to lose, I’m a very competitive person. You’ve got to be able to understand that you can’t win all the time, but be able to turn on the switch and be ready to win every time out.”
Q: Who do you think is your most underrated teammate?
Sheller: “Kort Peterson. He was one of my roommates and when he’s healthy, he’s one of those guys that might not be the big name but he’ll be the reason you win a lot of games.”
Q: Best hitter you’ve faced?
Sheller: “Austin Hayes. We grew up playing together so it’s fun when he steps into the box. He has one of the best approaches I’ve faced and if you make a mistake he’s gonna win that battle every time.”