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Taylor Ward is our best hitting prospect now


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I am not sure when we should start taking this seriously, but he's absolutely erupted.  He started off hot and hasn't stopped.  I wasn't sure if the position move would make him a better prospect or worse (catchers are just hard to come by), but damn, this guy is knocking the cover off the ball.  Furthermore, he only has four errors 33 games.  While that may be just OK (it could be worse) if I am not mistaken most of his errors came towards the beginning of the year.  And the reason I would state that Ward is doing better than Fletcher (although he's having a monster year too) is that Ward is playing in the pitcher friendly Southern League and Fletcher is in Salt Lake (i.e. Blash's 10 homeruns in 24 games).  Although, I think Fletcher's stats are a bit inflated, they are more legitimate than some others in the PCL (Fletcher has more triples than walks for example), but nevertheless it's hard for me to trust offensive performances in Salt Lake overall.  

Will Ward see the majors next year?  If Kinsler continues to suck it up, do we bring in Fletcher, or Ward to cover third and move Cozart over to 2nd?  I really believe Ward and Fletcher give us a tone of options later this year and next year.  

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Maybe the hit tool was always there, but Scioscia commands a lot of attention to the catching spot which can lessen the attention to one’s offense.

There’s nothing wrong with that, as I think we’re all very happy with Machete’s and Rivera’s work behind the plate.

It may have suppressed Ward’s offense potential though through 2017, and now look at him.

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1 hour ago, Angel Oracle said:

Maybe the hit tool was always there, but Scioscia commands a lot of attention to the catching spot which can lessen the attention to one’s offense.

There’s nothing wrong with that, as I think we’re all very happy with Machete’s and Rivera’s work behind the plate.

It may have suppressed Ward’s offense potential though through 2017, and now look at him.

From what I have read it sounds like it wasn't even his actual defense, it was more his relationship with pitchers.  I am guessing couldn't get on the same page with them, or maybe they simply didn't trust his pitch selection.  

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He's looking more and more of major leaguer, Double-A for me is the golden competition of level for us to see just what kinda of a player will be. 

  Past 65 games at Double-A, ward has an Avg over 300 and OBP over 400. He is showing power this year in a pitchers park. Surprising he has 7 stolen bases this year!!

he could possibly be a 260-270 with 15-20 hrs and good OBP in MLB. 

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This is why i feel like were rushing these kids, each week so far its been a different guy we want up in Ana.  There is no consistency.   We are reaching. 
Barring something huge and terrible, let them play everyday and continue to develop.  
We needed Barria, he performed... we really didnt need Blash IMO, with both Youngs in front of him so... that was a reach that failed, now hes gone again and suddenly off the radar.
IDK im just not in a rush to use this farm over building it, feels like were trying to harvest crop before its grown.  

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25 minutes ago, floplag said:

This is why i feel like were rushing these kids, each week so far its been a different guy we want up in Ana.  There is no consistency.   We are reaching. 
Barring something huge and terrible, let them play everyday and continue to develop.  
We needed Barria, he performed... we really didnt need Blash IMO, with both Youngs in front of him so... that was a reach that failed, now hes gone again and suddenly off the radar.
IDK im just not in a rush to use this farm over building it, feels like were trying to harvest crop before its grown.  

Blash was trying to catch lightning in a bottle because of how he was performing in AAA, and I doubt he is off the radar again.  As for both Young's being in front of him, only Chris Young is in front of him because Eric Young isn't on the 40 man roster, he probably should be in my opinion.

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Fletcher profiles more as a  utility type player.  Which is useful but not something I’ll personally get too excited about.  Barring some massive change that I’m unaware of, I don’t think it’s anything new with him.  

Ward has surprised but it’s hard for me to buy that all that was holding his bat back was his work developing as a catcher.  Hope for the best of course but I’m not getting on the hype train with Ward.  We’ll see how it looks in sepetember.  

If it holds up with Ward especially, I hope he raises his stock enough to be a nice trade chip. 

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He's got 7 sbs this year with 1 cs.  He had 0 in the previous two seasons.  

The other thing people forget about playing catcher is the wear and tear on the lower body.  daily.  

so much of hitting starts with your lower half.  

maybe it's as simple as stamina and that's where the progression comes from.  

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1 minute ago, Dochalo said:

He's got 7 sbs this year with 1 cs.  He had 0 in the previous two seasons.  

The other thing people forget about playing catcher is the wear and tear on the lower body.  daily.  

so much of hitting starts with your lower half.  

maybe it's as simple as stamina and that's where the progression comes from.  

Ya but guys are able to do it all the time Doc.  Ward is a young professional athlete.  Catcher is absolutely taxing but come on.  This guy had horrid slugging numbers.  Color me skeptical.

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5 minutes ago, UndertheHalo said:

Fletcher profiles more as a  utility type player.  Which is useful but not something I’ll personally get too excited about.  Barring some massive change that I’m unaware of, I don’t think it’s anything new with him.  

Ward has surprised but it’s hard for me to buy that all that was holding his bat back was his work developing as a catcher.  Hope for the best of course but I’m not getting on the hype train with Ward.  We’ll see how it looks in sepetember.  

If it holds up with Ward especially, I hope he raises his stock enough to be a nice trade chip. 

the thing about Fletcher is whether the hit tool has turned a corner and will now play up.  If that's real, he's not a util.  

It's not all just slappy mcpunchy so even if the park is having some effect, it's beyond that.  He's got 23 xbh in 152 pa.  He had 25 xbh all of last year.  

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5 minutes ago, UndertheHalo said:

Ya but guys are able to do it all the time Doc.  Ward is a young professional athlete.  Catcher is absolutely taxing but come on.  This guy had horrid slugging numbers.  Color me skeptical.

which guys?  How many elite hitting catchers are there?  There's a few that are very good, but the bat mostly plays down.  

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1 minute ago, Dochalo said:

the thing about Fletcher is whether the hit tool has turned a corner and will now play up.  If that's real, he's not a util.  

It's not all just slappy mcpunchy so even if the park is having some effect, it's beyond that.  He's got 23 xbh in 152 pa.  He had 25 xbh all of last year.  

No doubt, it’s a great start.  We’ll see how it plays out over the summer.  The more trade bullets the better. 

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3 minutes ago, Dochalo said:

which guys?  How many elite hitting catchers are there?  There's a few that are very good, but the bat mostly plays down.  

Not elite, but I’m just saying.  Guys regularly manage hitting and catching.  Ward was poor.  The turnaround thus far is remarkable.  It’s hard to buy it.  Also, he’s an older player relatively. 

Edited by UndertheHalo
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What’s pretty neat is we seem to have a lot of prospects who suddenly got better going from last year to this year.  To me, this is a reflection of the front office’s player development department helping players make adjustments and improve their game.

 Seeing this overarching trend of multiple prospects improving is what has me so excited.  I feel like we are on the verge of creating a well-oiled, prospect producing machine moving forward.

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1 hour ago, UndertheHalo said:

Fletcher profiles more as a  utility type player.  Which is useful but not something I’ll personally get too excited about.  Barring some massive change that I’m unaware of, I don’t think it’s anything new with him.  

Ward has surprised but it’s hard for me to buy that all that was holding his bat back was his work developing as a catcher.  Hope for the best of course but I’m not getting on the hype train with Ward.  We’ll see how it looks in sepetember.  

If it holds up with Ward especially, I hope he raises his stock enough to be a nice trade chip. 

What I'd say is I don't necessarily think catching was "holding him back" offensively.  It appears he made some legitimate offseason adjustments to his swing and approach, which in turn has led to better offensive numbers.  I think they moved him away from catcher because they felt, for one reason for another, there was an issue with his ability to ever project into the type of catcher they want.  Is it because he can't get on the same page as the pitchers?  Because he's terrible at calling pitchers?  Not a good framer?  Not exactly sure, but given how valuable a catching prospect is, if they felt he could stick as a catcher (even with an average or subpar bat), they would have kept him there.  They did not though, which says a lot about the way the Angels view certain aspects of catching, which we as fans are not likely privy to.

All of that said, if he keeps up his current trajectory, it's possible he could become a solid division two starter at 3B, or for a team like ours (a division one team), a backup or trade chip.

 

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