"His throws are accurate, and true..."
Thus sayeth Baseball America, as retold by the LA Times. Also they sayeth, truly, "Ward's offense lags well behind his defense...and scouts have their doubts about his bat...he lacks a natural feel for hitting." And then, most worthy, "Major League Baseball’s suggested slot value for the pick is $2.034 million."
Really? His upside is that he throws "strong and true"? Sure, the Halos continue to be among the worst at shutting down the opposition running game. This one guy might have a big impact on that, should it still be the case 3 or 4 years from now. The last time the Angels were NOT in the bottom 10 was way back in 2006, which goes well through to the Mike Napoli/Jose Molina days.
After drafting 7 catchers in 2012, 3 more in 2013, and 4 a year ago, and then obtaining a phenomenal future every day catcher in Carlos Perez (along with Nick Tropeano) when they sent Hank Conger away last November, the LA Angels brain trust decided that their biggest priority was to restock at catcher. And there, with their first pick in the 2015 draft, that trust of brains farted. They chose Taylor Ward.
No offense to young Master Ward, who is probably a fine young fellow and will probably have a fine minor league career, with some sniffing around as a journeyman Big League ballplayer for a few years. It's not his fault his particular set of skills cast a fog over the minds of those blessed with the chance to grab the 26th best available talent on Planet Earth. Ward cannot be blamed for whatever consultation and influence Mike Scioscia has over the Front Office. It wasn't Ward that fired Eddie Bane, or dumped wheelbarrows of cash on Vernon Wells, Josh Hamilton, and Albert Pujols. Ward didn't create any of the problems in Anaheim. It's unfair to burden him with the responsibility that comes with the 26th pick to solve some of those problems. My guess, however, is that Taylor Ward is already running barefoot down highway 99 out of Fresno and towards Anaheim, with pen in hand to sign the contract and fetch his slot money. And as soon as he does, it's no longer unfair to burden him.
Somebody go do some research and find for us all the list of players who actually grossly improved their amateur slash line once they had the chance to face Major League pitching. I'll wait right here for you to report back. Because the average career WAR in the modern era for a player drafted 26th should be around 75. But Ward is already being comp'ed against Mike Olt. Olt has played a dash of three seasons now and has scampered out to a net -0.8 bWAR.
This is a travesty, not just of all the talent choices gifted to all the competitors, and not just for the relative import of one of only 3 out of the top 105 possible talent choices. It's also a loss that started last November, when that 26th pick was being guarded so zealously against securing talent already proven. Make no mistake. This is it. This is when Halos Heaven puts a stake in the ground and declares that crowd-sourced LA Angels fan knowledge of baseball prospect opportunities is superior to that of the LA Angels front office staff. The Internet does not forget. All of our words and opinions are now out there for history to judge.
So where do we go from here? I think we already know. But for those of you who are still cloudy, or those whose name is Lyle Spencer, I will leave it to Scouting Director Ric Wilson (who doesn't give a shit about your facts and such) - "He has a tremendous throwing arm, and we think he’s going to be a premium big league catcher." So there it is. Premium.
Elsewhere in Baseball
This is classic. Pitching prospect Phil Bickford started off MLB Draft day with a report that he had just tested positive for marijuana. So, once a Top 10 selection of the Blue jays, he was due to take a hit. And then along comes his saviors. The team from (of course!) San Francisco..........
The rich are getting richer, even before they get rich. The Astrros killed it on Day 1 of the draft.
David Ortiz, the Boston Red Sox David Ortiz, considers questions about his shitting the bed this year and his possible demise to be "disrespectful". Ugh. "I’m not washed up. "I guarantee you that. I can wake up and hit, bro. That’s my nature. I’m not washed up." So wake up and hit, bro, or be washed up............
Why did we lose this guy? We really need more pitchers who show this kind of fortitude. Jason Vargas takes a lined shot in the cajones and still makes the out, then goes on to pitch another inning!.............
The woman injured by bat shards in Fenway is making progress. And Rob Manfred, having extensively studied the Bud Selig approach to decision making, has expressed his intent to go back and study fan safety............