LA Angels Prospect Interview: First Baseman Jared Walsh

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 03: Manager Mike Scioscia
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 03: Manager Mike Scioscia /

Halo Hangout recently stopped by the Inland Empire 66ers stadium, Class A Advanced affiliate of the LA Angels, to talk with first baseman Jared Walsh. The Angels Minor League affiliate sports a bevy of young prospect talent and we had the pleasure of stopping by to speak with the big-time first baseman putting in his work within the Angels system.

Jared Walsh, first baseman of the Inland Empire 66ers, plays the game of baseball in the best way possible. His defense is excellent, the quick gloved Walsh sporting a perfect fielding percentage on the season so far, and his offense is top-notch as well.

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Currently the team leader in home runs with 5 in 27 games, Walsh is tied for fourth in the California League in HR’s. At the age of 24, Walsh has already had a few seasons of success within the Angels system. During his 2017 season across both the Double-A Mobile Baybears and the Inland Empire 66ers Walshs power began to unfold.

In 90 games played during that 2017 season the left-handed hitting Walsh clubbed 32 doubles and 11 HR’s to a total of 61 RBIs. Overall Walsh performed to a .311/.372/.506 slash line, his skills greatly trending upwards in reflection of his numbers.

Currently in the middle of his fourth professional season, Walsh understands the highs and lows of the game can hit you at any time. One of the most important things you can do as a young ballplayer working through the system is to trust the process and never take your eye off the ball. Even if the game isn’t going your way in the moment just keep your eye on the ball and great things will come.

1B Jared Walsh #21

H.H:  You’ve already had an 11 game hit streak in only 24 games played so far. How are you feeling when you step to the plate? [27 at time of writing]

Walsh: [laughs] If you talked to me about ten days ago I couldn’t miss and right now it’s kinda the opposite. Like I said; just be consistent, get my work in everyday and hope when things aren’t going well that my teammates can pick me up, and just understand that baseball is a game of highs and lows so hopefully I’ll be getting hot here soon.

H.H:  Last season with the 66ers you hit 8 HR’s [in 70 games]. Right now you have 5 in just 24 games. How are you feeling with the progression of your power? [27 games at time of writing]

Walsh: I’m feeling good with the progression of my power. Usually in the past my home runs have come in bunches too. Hopefully I got another handful of hot-streaks where I can hit a lot of home runs.

H.H: You’ve been collecting walks at a steady pace this season. Is that a big focus for you?

Walsh: Huge focus for me. Obviously OBP [On Base Percentage] is good, and like I said I wanna swing at as many pitches in the zone as I can and stay away from the balls out of the zone. If I can walk that’s an element to my game I really, really wanna add and progress on.

Career Stats[3+ seasons]: .290/.356/.470

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You wouldn’t know it watching him hit, but coming into the Angels system Walsh had more experience on the mound than he did at the plate. Many teams from around the league looked to draft Walsh as a pitcher, but the Angels were one of the few who had him eyed as a hitter. It was a great call by the Angels, and Walsh is steadily improving his game as the days go by.

2018 Fielding Percentage: 1.000

H.H:  You’ve stated before that coming out of high school pitching was your strength. How have you made the transition to the hitter you are today?

Walsh: That’s the thing, even in college I didn’t get a ton of at-bats. I kinda battled injuries and I was still pitching a lot in college so I didn’t always get to hit. I’m really just trying to make up reps right now, every day is a learning experience and I’m still more inconsistent than I’d like to be. I think with reps every day and confidence I’m getting better.

H.H:  Prior to pro ball, did you play a lot of first base?

Walsh: I played a lot of first base and a lot of right field. Whenever they ask me to run out to right field it’s something I’m okay with cause I have a lot of experience there in the past.

H.H: What’s the biggest tool you’re working on developing at the plate right now?

Walsh: No question it’s my pitch selection. When I put the ball in play I generally am pretty good about doing damage but I swing at pitches out of the zone too often and I know that if I plan on playing in the big leagues I better get my approach squared away while I’m down here before getting up there getting exposed.

Career Hits: 282

Overall, Jared Walsh had had fantastic success in the Angels system. Walsh began his journey in the Arizona League, notching 126 plate apperances in which he hit .339 with 12 doubles. Following the Arizona league he had a short stint with the rookie ball Orem Owlz before seasons end. In 2016 Walsh spent the entire year with the Low A Burlington Bees, collecting 114 hits in 109 games.

His 2017 season was split between the Double-A Mobile Baybears and the Inland Empire 66ers, a season in which he hit the aforementioned 11 HR’s, 61 RBIS, and 32 doubles. Despite his growing success Walsh keeps his eye steady on the prize, the here and now of baseball. While the opportunities for him to progress through the Angels system grow Walsh only becomes more focused on his day-to-day game.

Career Doubles: 79

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H.H: You’ve had a healthy amount of success in your minor league journey so far. What are your keys to this success?

Walsh: Just sticking with the process, you know, don’t try to get too high or too low. Lately I’ve been struggling a little bit, but just trying to keep a positive mindset and keep grinding everyday.

H.H: The Angels look like first base will be opening up for them in a few years. Do you have your eye on that or do you take it day-to-day?

Walsh: Absolutely taking it day-to-day, we have a ton of great players in the organization. I know that the higher-ups have a really good understanding of what they’re doing, I just know that if I go out and play my game good things are gonna happen. I don’t try to worry about where I’m gonna be three years down the road. I just enjoy playing baseball.

1B Jared Walsh #21

Jared Walsh has the tools for success and those tools continue growing as the days go by. His severe line drive power is evolving into a greater home run power. His ability to drive the ball is only getting better with age. His defense at first is phenomenal and his mental fortitude is concrete.

There is a world of success waiting for Jared Walsh, and he’s growing quickly on his way to the greatest frontier of all. Major League Baseball.