This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
When the Chicago White Sox selected Judge Memorial product Keenyn Walker in the 2011 draft, the only concern club officials expressed involved his consistency at the plate.
In his first month of professional baseball, Walker is shredding Pioneer League pitching.
In his first 11 games for the Great Falls Voyagers, Walker hit .378. He went 17-for-45, including seven doubles.
In Great Falls' 6-4 win over Ogden on Friday night, Walker was 3-for-4 and walked twice.
"It's going really good," he said. "I'm actually surprised how well I'm doing. It's been fun so far. I hope it keeps getting better and better."
Already a top prospect because of his blazing speed and bazooka-like arm, Walker laughs when asked about his quick start offensively.
"I'm just more relaxed than I was before," he said. "I'm looking to making solid contact every time up, instead of trying to do too much."
Walker took the first step toward a baseball career when he was 15.
At that point, his mother contacted Howard Nakagama, who is a White Sox scout based in Salt Lake City.
She asked Nakagama to give Walker private instruction.
"In the 12 years I've been scouting," Nakagama said, "he's one of the best high-school athletes I've seen playing baseball. ... He's a legitimate three-tool player."
Walker stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 195 pounds. He was good enough in football to pursue it, too.
Instead, Walker focused on baseball after graduating from Judge.
"I just thought I had more of a future in baseball," he said. "... You last a longer in baseball."
The Chicago Cubs drafted Walker out of high school, but the money they offered wasn't good enough.
He enrolled at Central Arizona Junior College, although Walker has "no idea" how he ended up in the desert.
"They just called me one day, and I took a visit," he said. "... I wanted to play in the heat after mostly playing in 40 degrees [in high school]. That was the deal-maker for me, I guess."
After his freshman year, the Philadelphia Phillies drafted Walker. But he returned to school, starred again and was drafted for a third time in June.
The White Sox used the 47th overall pick on Walker, who continues a weeklong homecoming Sunday at 1 p.m. when Great Falls plays Ogden.
The Voyagers open a three-game series at Orem on Monday at 1 p.m.
"It's been fun," Walker said. "All my family and friends have come out and I really appreciate it because they mean the world to me."
Walker's goal is to quickly climb the ladder in the White Sox farm system.
By 2013, he hopes to be patrolling the outfield at U.S. Cellular Field on the south side of Chicago.
"I want to be up there in a couple of years," he said.