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What do you expect from Taylor Ward next year?


Angelsjunky

Who is the real Ward?  

60 members have voted

  1. 1. And what to expect in 2023?

    • He's a legit star hitter: maybe .300/.370/.550, 150+ wRC+, 5 WAR
    • He's a borderline star, like his overall performance: .280/.360/.470, 135 wRC+, 4 WAR
    • He's a quality regular, but not more: maybe .270/.340/.450, 120 wRC+, 3 WAR
    • 2022 was a total fluke - he's a platoon guy, ala 2020-21: .260/.330/.400, 105 wRC+, 1-2 WAR


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I feel that his 2022 performance gets a bit overlooked, mostly because after his ridiculously hot start, he cooled off substantially...but what seems to get missed, is that towards the end of the year, he got good again.

Pre-Wall (through May 20): 131 PA, 9 HR, .370/.481/.713, 235 wRC+

Post-Wall (May 21-end of season): 433 PA, 14 HR, .256/.323/.406, 107 wRC+

Now let's split that Post-Wall period up:

50/20-7/31: 196 PA, 4 HR, .217/.296/.314, 76 wRC+

8/1 - end of season: 237 PA, 10 HR, .288/.346/.481, 133 wRC+

Meaning, from August on, his numbers were pretty similar to his season totals.

2022 total: 564 PA, 23 HR, .281/.360/.473, 137 wRC+, 3.8 WAR

But let's look a bit deeper. 

August: 111 PA, 6 HR, .222/.288/.374, 86 wRC+

September/Oct: 126 PA, 6 HR, .345/.397/.575, 174 wRC+

Meaning, he was still struggling in August, if slowly starting to improve, but tore the cover off the ball for the last month plus. The shift seemed to occur in late August, around the 24th, after which he had a 175 wRC+ in 146 PA.

So who is the "real" Ward?

If we assume that his overall performance is his true talent level, he was 22nd in wRC+ and 41st in WAR among qualifiers.

But it also seems possible that he's more like the guy from late August to early October. It is possible that he too awhile to recover from his May injury. Before then, he talked about seeing the ball really well, and feeling confident that he could hit anything - and he did. But after hitting his head, he wasn't right, and sometimes head injuries can really throw you for a loop...for Ward, it was about three months.

Anyhow, vote in the poll.

Edited by Angelsjunky
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14 minutes ago, Blarg said:

His defense in right field is not great. He is slow and does not have an outfielders arm. So his hitting will have to overcome his defensive deficiencies. 

That's why my wRC+ figures aren't commensurate with my WAR figures. I'm not that much of a statistical maestro to be able to estimate accurately on the spot, but a 150 wRC+ with good outfield defense is more than 5 WAR.

But the real question is the bat - how real it is, or what version is the real Ward. I guess we'll see by mid-season next year.

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4 hours ago, Blarg said:

His defense in right field is not great. He is slow and does not have an outfielders arm. So his hitting will have to overcome his defensive deficiencies. 

It's not great I agree but he's not slow and actually has a really good arm.  He is not the best baserunner from what I've seen however.  This was his first full season in RF and he improved over limited time there last year.  There isn't much to overcome but slight additional improvement will make him average or slightly above.  

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He's not the problem, fills a need, and his overall numbers won't decline.  I'd say he's part of the solution if we are trying to contend.

Injuries suck, but everyone has them over 162.  

He likely won't garner a trade value worth what he means to this squad.  He fills a spot with comfort, at the end of the day.

LF, on the other hand.....

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3 hours ago, ten ocho recon scout said:

I see him, hopefully, as Calhoun (without the arm)(or red hair). 

I'd be happy with Calhouns early year bat here.... assuming Rendon ever actually plays, Walsh can hit again, Rengifo is real, etc.

i think he's a much better hitter than calhoun. after the shoulder injury he got back to what he was doing before the injury and that was the best hitter on the team level. i think if he's even in that range, then he's much better than calhoun. i'm actually very bullish on him, which is awesome.

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This guy is a grinder that I thought was going to be a full bust.  He proved me wrong.

But I wouldn’t absolutely count on him being more than “everyday playable.”  

Depending on what other moves happen, maybe he ends up being both a platoon at first with Walsh, and a flexible starter elsewhere when Walsh is in the lineup.

 

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11 hours ago, ten ocho recon scout said:

I see him, hopefully, as Calhoun (without the arm)(or red hair). 

I'd be happy with Calhouns early year bat here.... assuming Rendon ever actually plays, Walsh can hit again, Rengifo is real, etc.

As ukyah said, he's a significantly better hitter than Calhoun. A 137 wRC+ is pretty much a typical Tim Salmon year.

I think we generally under-sell how good Ward was in 2022 - perhaps because of his up-and-down performance, but also because numbers are a bit down. But to put it in context, among all qualifying Angels seasons (ignoring 2020) -- or, shall we say, all seasons with 500+ PA  -- his 137 wRC+ is 32nd all-time among 290 qualifying hitters since 1961.

That partially speaks of how weak the Angels franchise is. But for comparison's sake, it is the same as Salmon's 1997 (.296/.394/.517, 33 HR) and just ahead of Morales' one good year in 2009 (.306/.355/.569, 34 HR, 136 wRC+).

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8 minutes ago, Erstad Grit said:

Juan Rivera was very undervalued here and Ward could put up similar numbers IMO. 

Rivera's best season (2006, 126 OPS+) wasn't as good as Ward's 2022 (137 OPS+).

I think you're underselling Ward. He's more Salmon (165 OPS+ was his best, 120-142 was the bulk of his career) or Edmonds (171 with STL, 137 with us) if he continues to play like he did last year.

 

Edited by Hubs
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I get the part in pointing out his positives, and I hope it's a case where he broke out. 

But I'd be very cautious saying he's more Salmon the Calhoun...

There's literally just as much of a chance Ward is the guy who struggled to hit as the one who looked like an all-star. Calhoun had a 4 year run with us where his average OPS+ was 115 or so. That's not too far off from Wards last 2 years (about 120). And my point isn't to say that the two are a match, as much as I'm saying that having Ward be an everyday guy in RF (which we haven't had in years) that gets us a 115-125 OPS+ any given year is still a win.

Both Fletcher and Walsh gave us hope in pretty recent history, too. Both have dealt with injuries, as did Ward last year, so hopefully each can be healthy, and good.

But again... looking only at the best case scenario and calling it more likely than the worst case one, especially in such a small sample of good, is dangerous.

Calhoun may sound like a letdown to some on here, but like I said.... aside from Pujols and Trout, how many guys have we had here in the past decade that locked up a position for 3 or 4 years in a row, and weren't a black hole? Simmons. Calhoun.... who else?... you have to basically go back to the Kendrick / Aybar years after that.

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2 hours ago, Erstad Grit said:

March to May,

or

June to August? 

He was bad for 6 weeks, probably should've been put on the injured list, but he's got a problem with injuries and he tried to play though it. and Trout was out too..

He was great from March to May 20, when he hit the wall, terrible from 5-20 to 8-1, and great again from 8-1 to the end of the year.

 

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6 minutes ago, Hubs said:

He was bad for 6 weeks, probably should've been put on the injured list, but he's got a problem with injuries and he tried to play though it. and Trout was out too..

He was great from March to May 20, when he hit the wall, terrible from 5-20 to 8-1, and great again from 8-1 to the end of the year.

 

Yes there was a stretch he was a top 5 player in MLB. Hopefully he is more that guy. I don't think he is, but I hope so. 

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I'll be the first to say I didn't watch most Angel games and have this is wrong, but Baseball Savant has him in the 79th percentile for sprint speed, and 69th for outs above average (nice).  Don't think that qualifies as slow.

 

For the question, I think we would be ecstatic if he turns out to be a quality regular in the long run and 2022 wasn't a fluke.

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