Jared Walsh, power hitting first baseman for the Inland Empire 66ers, Minor League affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, has won a Cal League Player of the Week Award for the week on May 14th. This award came after Walsh put up a .476 BA with 4 HR’s and 12 RBI’s for the week. Since then his play has only gotten better with 5 more HR’s and 6 RBI’s since then. Halo Hangout stopped by Inland Empire to talk with the young athlete regarding his standout performance.
May 20th was easily the best game of the entire season for the 66ers and first baseman Jared Walsh as well. The 66ers defeated the Lancaster JetHawks with 12 runs off of 19 hits; most intriguing is the nine RBI’s between infielder Jordan Zimmerman (5) and Jared Walsh DH’ing (4). Jared Walsh went 4 for 5 with a double, 2 HR’s, 3 runs, and the aforementioned 4 RBIs. These are the kind of performances that has carried this team to a tie for first with the Lancaster JetHawks and it’s no surprise to hear players like Walsh speak with playoff contention in mind.
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Walsh struggled for a soft stretch at the end of April/beginning of May, the first baseman holding a .218 average on May 5th. Now the first baseman has juiced his stat line significantly, bumping his slash line to .275/.365/.604 with 13 HR’s and 36 RBI’s. Those are some absolute powerhouse numbers, and with an OPS of .969 on the season it’s clear Walsh has the talent to carry himself to ultimate success.
1B Jared Walsh #21
H.H: Last month you had some struggles, but now that you’ve won a Cal League Player of the Week award do you feel fully broken out of that slump?
Walsh: I just try to take it game by game, I can’t worry about what’s going to happen in the future or what happened in the past; just try to have good at bats every day. If they pile up as good at bats that’s good and if not I’ll break out of it sooner or later.
H.H: On May 8th when you hit your 1st of 4 HR’s that led you to a Player of the Week award did you know it would begin a big upswing?
Walsh: [laughs] Absolutely not; you know…baseballs got so many highs and lows. I’m just trying to put together good AB’s. As a team we’ve been putting together really good AB’s, if we can continue to win maybe we clinch a playoff berth.
H.H: You currently lead the Cal League in HR’s and RBI’s, is that something you want to stay on top of?
Walsh: [laughs] Certainly any time you’re leading a category you’d like to stay on top of it. I don’t think about it every day and night, but if that’s where it ended I sure wouldn’t be disappointed with that.
H.H: You’ve matched your April walk total with 12 walks in May. How are you feeling with the progression of our plate vision and discipline?
Walsh: I can always get better. There’s been a couple at bats recently, 3-2, that I chased out of the zone when I shouldn’t have. Same thing; It’s day to day, just trying to swing at strikes and strictly strikes.
1B Jared Walsh #21
The 66ers will open up a three game series on the road against Visalia Rawhide before returning home this weekend for a series against ex-Angel affiliate, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.