Taylor Ward

Position: C
Level: High A
Affiliate: Inland Empire 66ers
Age: 22 yrs, 6m
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 185
B/T: Right / Right
Acquired: 1st Rd. (#26 overall) 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft (LAA)

Prospect Spotlight

Ward started the season as the top prospect in the Angels organization. After being drafted in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Fresno State, he had a great first season with a .348/.457/.438 slash line over time in Rookie ball and at Class A Burlington in the Midwest League. He showcases a muscularly thick build on his mature body to go along with his long arms. He can continue to add some strength to his frame, without it pushing him off the catcher position.

Ward has a quiet stance at the plate, standing tall with his hands held at the shoulder before creating a level stroke with some bat speed. He’s a patient hitter that rarely chases outside the zone, making consistent contact and utilizing his patience to stay back and balanced at the plate. Ward looks for pitches out over the plate, looking to stay to the middle of the field with his contact oriented, line-drive swing. He doesn’t have much power currently, but could develop some gap power as he continues to get stronger and could turn on mistake pitches.

Highlighted by his plus arm (1.8 pop time) that has a quick release and is regularly on target, Ward’s defense has continued to improve. He will be a consistent factor in limiting the running game, throwing out almost 36% of potential basestealers so far. Ward needs to continue working on his receiving skills, as he can turn his hand the wrong way trying to catch pitches on the inner half of the plate. His blocking is o.k. right now, but he shows late reactions to balls in the dirt, highlighted by the nine passed balls charged to him already this season. Ward isn’t a blazer on the base paths, but does a good job of building up speed and can score from first. Basestealing won’t be a part of his game, but he has shown an ability to pick and choose his spots.

Ward looks like he could be a major league regular behind the plate, utilizing his defensive skills and line-drive stroke to his advantage. For him to reach his ceiling, he will need to continue to work on his receiving skills and continue to showcase good patience and pitch selection at the plate.